My folks moved to Alabama when I was working in the Upper Peninsula, so I stayed behind in Michigan. I’d visit them and sometimes meet their friends. As they introduced me to people who had lived their entire lives in the South the response was almost universally horror stricken. “You live in MICHIGAN? Doesn’t it get awfully cold there? And how do you handle all that snow??”
Well, yes it does get cold here, and it snows too. Sometimes a lot. But seriously, we don’t sit in our homes and mope — we get out into the fresh air and enjoy it. It’s the only way to get through the winter, to not let it get us down. Because yes it does get old.
But not this year, at least not here. Not yet.
I was out at my favorite park on Sunday and was amazed at all the activity. though I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was chilly and clouds were chasing the sun, but it was a beautiful day. So I thought I’d show you what people in Michigan do on a winter weekend. There was hardly any snow on the ground, and people didn’t want to waste a chance to enjoy some time outside.
This particular park is centered on a very large lake. There’s an eight mile (12.8k) bike/walk/run paved path around the lake, and many other miles of paths through the hills and fields including nature paths through the woods.
It’s incredibly beautiful no matter the season.
People were out doing everything you could imagine. Aside from the expected walking and running, it’s a perfect place for well socialized dogs to take their humans for an afternoon walk.
And the fishing is great too, no matter the season. Lots and lots of fisher people stand on the banks of the lake and catch their supper, as evidenced by the lures tangled in the high branches of a tree above the bike path.
But this time of year it’s all about ice fishing. I can’t say I understand that sport, but I fully support a person’s right to sit out on the cold lake staring at a hole in the ice waiting for a fish to strike. It’s gotta be fun for some people. Just not me.
On this Sunday the weather was so warm that people were out riding their bikes…
…and even inline skating.
It felt like spring, and I’m sure we all wish that winter was over. Of course we know it’s not — snow and cold is forecast for later this week. If the snow arrives you might not want to be out on skates or your bike, but you can still wander the nature trails and feed the birds.
Yes there are signs out not to feed the wildlife, but enough people hold sunflower seeds out for the little birds that they now follow nature walkers around asking for a handout. It’s a special feeling to have a wild bird flit to your finger for an instant. Especially for young kids, and those of us still young at heart.
Sunday there was also a large group of artists at the park, each painting their vision of the paradise that is this park. That was so special it’s going to have to go into it’s own blog. Stay tuned.
So that’s what people will do on a nice winter day at a beautiful public park way up here in Michigan. The next semi-sunny day you have during the rest of this winter head out to a park near you. I guarantee you’ll see something interesting and fun and maybe even beautiful.
Regardless of whether or not it’s cold or there is snow on the ground.