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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Michigan’

Folks, you're not in Greenland!

Folks, you’re not in Greenland!

Perhaps I should say that Lake Michigan just becomes more amazing and gorgeous in my own eyes. I learn something new about it almost every day; that beautiful body of water always amazes me!

You’ve probably heard me talk about my fervent love for the Great Lake and why it steals my heart away every single time. The colors, the peaceful waves, the feeling of the water lapping over my body – I mean, how could it NOT sweep me off my feet? You probably know about the giant waves that happen sometimes in the lake or that it can freeze over in the winter and you can even bike on it when it’s frozen.

But I never really expected to see ICEBERGS in Lake Michigan!

That’s right – ICEBERGS.

Just check out these amazing photos of these various icebergs from The Scoop Newspaper to see what I mean. I put my favorite one in this blog post, but goodness, it just keeps getting more and more mind-blowingly awesome! What I wouldn’t do to live by that beautiful body of water! 🙂

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Thar she blows! (Photo by Jessica Hromas/Getty Images)

Thar she blows! (Photo by Jessica Hromas/Getty Images)

Sometimes the world needs something a little different or a little pick-me-up. Strangers having a bad day yearn for something to put a smile on their faces, to help them forget their worries – no matter how briefly.

I would love to see this happen more often somehow!

Conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman created a larger-than-life inflatable rubber ducky, which towers at 6 stories high, and let it set sail into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. How awesome is that?!

I didn’t realize until I read about it that this rubber ducky has traveled to 13 different cities in nine countries from places like Brazil to Australia since 2007. I think it’s continuing its journey around the world. I’d love to see it come by my neck of the woods, even if I have to drive to Chicago or Lake Michigan to see it happen (you won’t hear me complaining! ;))!

What do you think about this cool rubber ducky? I don’t know about you, but it definitely put a big ol’ smile on my face. ^_^

Say Hello to My Big Friend!

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Sufjan at MusicNOW“All that I dreamed, where do you run? Where do you run to?”

When I hear the melody and the lyrics to this part of one of my favorite Sufjan songs, I can’t help relaxing, letting the steady rhythm, rich trombone tones, and mesmerizing strings and piano steal me away from my worries.

“Mercury,” which is a song from a collaborative collection of astral songs called “The Planetarium,” is without a doubt my favorite tune on the track list. It is also the first song that I heard from the set a little over a year ago by pure happenstance (and, ironically, the last track in the set). I heard a relatively rough, echo-y version of the song that someone uploaded from a concert Sufjan Stevens and his compadres Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly performed in Cincinatti, Ohio last year in an event called MusicNOW 2012. While the video simply depicts the trio and their team of violinists and trombonists playing the song, the audio is what truly grasps me.

Even though it is echo-y and you really can’t make out too much (as opposed to the more crisp and clean live versions), the song brings me so much peace, perhaps even more than the “proper” live version itself (though it, too, is beautiful). I find my muscles relaxing and my eyes fluttering closed in warm, achy memories. I can picture myself swimming in a lane all by myself in a somewhat secluded pool, the windows to my side as the sun peaks benevolently through clouds. I am also taken back to the day I swam happily and peacefully in Lake Michigan for the very first time, watching a storm roll in from the west as the waters changed subtly from teal to navy and back again. The waves had lapped over my shoulders and carried me gently back toward the shore and I lackadaisically dog-paddled back and forth, enraptured by the carefree atmosphere.

Whenever I find myself stressed, tense, anxious, angry, frustrated, or apprehensive, I will make a beeline for this song. As soon as I hear it, especially the gorgeous chorus, I feel all the poison and uncertainties that had clung so tightly to me slide right off, and I am taken back to that pool or that wonderful, magnanimous lake once more.

See for yourself!

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On my way to work the other day, I decided to put in one of my favorite discs, Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lakes State! by Sufjan Stevens. It’s one of those discs that when played, especially in nice weather, it takes me back to that wonderful place in time in which my husband and I visited the beautiful state of Michigan. One song particularly took me back to two of my favorite locations in Michigan – “Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie.”

I really feel as if Sufjan does a fantastic job capturing these two fantastic locations, places that I can never forget for many reasons. Since listening to the song, I long to stand on the warm, soft sands of Sleeping Bear, west of Traverse City. I desire to stand on one of those beautiful sand dunes to see the glorious Lake Michigan below me. I’d give about anything to slip silently into the lake once more and allow it to gently jostle and move me around in its undulating waves.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to in either location. I would’ve scoured the western beaches of Michigan and stolen a few hours away to swim and lounge by the lake. I would’ve dug a bit deeper into the very old history of Sault Ste. Marie, and I definitely would have gotten my passport and traveled for some time into Canada, visiting the “other” Sault Ste. Marie. I would have taken more time to take in all of the smells, the hues of the sky and the lakes, and the feel of the wind blowing my hair in the breezy, mild July weather. I would give anything to go back.

But until I do get the opportunity to journey northward, I must allow myself to bask in the happy memories that I shared with my husband. I will look at the bottles of Lake Superior sand on my desk with great fondness. I will gaze longingly at the photos I took of the beautiful state. And I will listen to this disc again and again and again, especially to this song.

Take a listen to this tune and see what you think!

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Empire, MichiganExcuse me while I daydream about the Great Lakes State for a bit!

Sometimes when I’m driving to or from work (which is an hour-long commute one way), I pretend like I’m taking the back roads and Interstates of Michigan on the way to something more fun, somewhere like Traverse City, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, or somewhere by one of the beautiful Great Lakes. *sigh* One day I’ll go back. 🙂

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Happy Birthday, Michigan!So today is Michigan’s 176th birthday! Dang, Michigan, you’re old!

As many of you probably already know, my husband and I visited this beautiful state for the first time this past July, and it really turned out to be an even more beautiful state than I had imagined. So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today, I want to quickly recount 5 of my favorite Michigan experiences!

1. Climbing the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Traverse City – This was probably the biggest event in my life thus far that really tested my physical (and mental) fortitude. My goal was to climb the giant sand dune, thinking that we’d see Lake Michigan right on the other side. Noooooope. Not even close. I dragged my poor husband up and down 3 more gigantic sand dunes, and I went on down and then up one more mountain-like sand dune by myself to see if the lake would be right there. It wasn’t, unfortunately, but I could see it. I think I was maybe half of a mile away from the shoreline. Instead of pushing onward against the setting sun, I stood still and took in my surroundings, letting the serene silence soak in everything around me. All that could be heard was the gentle breeze tangling through the grass and tree limbs and maybe an occasional buzz of a lazy insect.

Getting back, however, was so much harder. It was a breeze to clumsily trot down the sand dune, but the climb up was perhaps one of the most tiring thing I’ve ever done, especially since all I had in my stomach that day was half of a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and sparse amount of water, and of course, I brought nothing with me. My limbs were so weak and shaky as I crawled up the insanely steep dune, and I wondered for a short while if I would die. Luckily, I was able to make it back to my worried husband, and we trudged our way back to the car in the dying light.

Those dunes showed me that I am much more capable of doing pretty much anything I set my mind to, and I am forever grateful for that, especially since at that time I was suffering from a significant lack of confidence. I will forever love those dunes. 🙂

2. Crossing the Mighty Mac – Did I ever mention how afraid of heights I am? Well, if not, know this – I am TERRIFIED of heights. Even if it’s just a few feet off the ground, I feel really uncomfortable. When I learned that the Mighty Mac was 5 miles long and 199 feet above the straits, I got a bit apprehensive. What if the wind is really bad? What if there’s a traffic jam on the bridge and we’re stuck on it? I get so anxious when I have to sit on bridges over bodies of water, especially if it’s raining and I’m surrounded by semis.

When I first saw the bridge in the distance, I was in awe and fear at the same time. I was hoping maybe to stop in Mackinaw City to get myself ready to tackle the scary bridge, but before I knew it, we were traveling to the U.P. on the bridge, leaving the ground and hovering above the Great Lakes. The special radio station that talked about the bridge played tinkling, easy-listening piano music as the narrator softly talked about the features and history of the bridge. I got the courage to look around me, and what I saw was breath-takingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. The bridge was a little scary, but I’m much, much less afraid than what I used to be and would be happy to cross it again if the opportunity ever arrives. 🙂

3. Staying the Night Right Beside Lake Huron – After crossing the Mighty Mac, we stopped in our next destination – St. Ignace – a place that was named after my patron saint (St. Ignatius of Loyola). Our hotel was located RIGHT on the shore of Lake Huron. Though it was near the end of the day and was a drizzly icky day, the view was gorgeous. The laps against the shoreline made it seem as if we were right next to the ocean. For hours, we were able to keep a window open as we watched the Tigers game and ate Yooper pizza, listening to the gentle Lake Huron lap a stone’s throw away.

4. Checking Out the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie (and Waving Hello to Canada!) – I’ll admit it. I was kinda unconvinced at the time about the Soo Locks. I thought it would be kinda lame to see them. I’ll have to say, though, that it was super cool to see tour boat and a huge ship come through the locks and travel into Lake Superior. My husband said that he really enjoyed seeing how the locks worked and was happy we stopped. It was also really cool to see Canada so close to us. I have never been to Canada before, and I hope to do so sometime! We also watched all of the cars packed on the International Bridge coming in and out of the countries. Before leaving the Soo, we stopped in a store across the street and grabbed a bunch of states magnets, grabbing all the ones we visited. Reluctantly, we left westward through the remaining peninsula, waving hello and then good-bye to neighboring Canada and vowing to be back someday to visit.

5. Finding Out the Detroit Isn’t Nearly as Terrifying as I Thought –Okay… I know I’m very inexperienced about cities, especially Detroit, so please don’t be mad at what I’m about to say. I think Detroit gets such a bad rap. Sure, some things are kind of sketchy there, and yeah, there’s a decent amount of crime, but I believe there are still many good things that happen in that city. When we were getting ready to visit Detroit on our 2nd day of being in the state, I was so apprehensive. I had never been there and didn’t know what to expect, worried that we’d be accosted by someone. Once we got there, though, we went to Comerica Park to just walk around and check out the store, even though it was the park itself was closed that day. It was great to see the giant tiger statue and all the cool baseball stuff. Though we didn’t stay very long in Detroit (let’s face it – we only went to Comerica, drove around downtown for a bit, and that was about it before we almost accidentally went into Canada), I would give it another shot. The city was quiet and clean in the parts we were in, and the people we talked to seemed really pleasant. It seemed a lot like St. Louis, a city that I’m pretty used to, and I would definitely come back. 🙂

Oh, and I definitely want to see a Tigers game in the Motor City.

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The Great Lakes in WinterI had a dream the other night that I had somehow found my way back up north to Michigan, more specifically, the northwestern part of Lake Michigan. It looked cold but beautiful; the sky was a stunning cobalt while the lake radiated with segments of teal and deep, rich blue hues, just like it did when I swam in it the first time last summer.

In my dream, my husband was standing besides me and said, “Man, that looks freezing – I can’t believe the colors, though!” I stood in awe on its shoreline and slowly began to wade out into the lake, jeans and all. Cold waves lapped and pooled around my thighs and kneecaps as I shivered and gazed at the wintery beauty around me.

I turned to my husband with the biggest smile on my face and said, “We should totally go to Lake Superior now! I LOVE that lake!”

Then I think my dream shifted to rescuing trapped sharks from a crazed madman or something (I guess I should specify that my dreams are pretty crazy and don’t make much sense most times.).

After finding this picture last week, I ached to go back north to those beautiful lakes. Why did I have to live so far away from them? I realize I couldn’t swim in them yet since it’s so darn cold, but just to see them again. I’d give just about anything.

I swear, whenever I retire in, like, a bazillion years, I’m requesting that we live up north closer to those lakes, preferably right on the shore of Lake Michigan or Superior. Hey, I can dream, right? 😉

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