An amazing building, on a beautiful summer day.
Today was a big day; I earned my Rally Excellent title! For you guys that don’t compete with your dog and maybe don’t know what Rally is, let me tell you, it’s all about the mama. There’s this big ring, see, and in the ring are all these numbered stations with signs about what mama is supposed to do at each place. I’m just supposed to follow along and do what I’m told. I’m very good at that. Mostly.
You have to have three qualifying runs to get your title, and I’ve had two of the three since December of last year. I don’t know why mama waited all this time to get me entered for my third leg. Oh wait. Mama reminds me that she took me on an awesome vacation down to Florida and Alabama and Tennessee and North Carolina last winter. Right. So maybe she has an excuse for procrastinating.
Anyway, this morning when I got mama up at 4 a.m. she didn’t seem to be as ticked off as usual. Just as tired, but not as irritated. Then about 6:30 she started putting stuff in the car. I asked if I could go and she laughed and said “Of course baby! It’s all about YOU!” So we drove and drove and drove for a thousand million hours. Oh. Mama says I’m always exaggerating. It was only ninety minutes. We got to the venue with an hour to spare which is how I like it. That way I get to sniff around and get comfortable. I work better that way.
But it was still hard for me. It was in a big barn at a fairground. And there were noisy trucks outside that I didn’t like. I wanted to wander over to the people at the table too…I figured they’d have good stuff there, but mama called me back and I trotted right over to her. Then I figured out we were supposed to be working, so I paid attention to my mama.
Which was my mistake. Because apparently mama can’t actually read the signs. So we did a couple of things wrong, and I got marked off. I don’t think that’s fair, do you? Mama messes up and I get marked down? Whatever. The good news is we still got enough points to qualify for a leg, and since it was my third leg I got my Rally Excellent title! And a purple ribbon!
Isn’t it beautiful? The ribbon…the ribbon is beautiful. I know I’m beautiful, but you’re supposed to be focused on the ribbon.
Mama had signed us up for two runs, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. But since we got the title on our first try we stuck around only long enough to watch our friend Peep do a run, and then we left. Mama said she was going to take me to a park. She knew I’d rather be walking in a park than sitting in my crate until the middle of the afternoon. We drove and drove and mama found a park, but when we got to the gate the sign said “NO PETS!” Really? What kind of a park doesn’t allow pets?
Mama was ticked because we’d been following signs for the park for a long time, driving over dirt roads way out into the country. But she got a photo of a cool barn, so she says it was worth it.
Then she found a parking lot on the rails to trails path so we got out and walked a little bit. There wasn’t very much shade though so we didn’t stay long.
She sneezed and I barked and barked at her. I don’t like it when people sneeze, she should know better.
Anyway, I had a pretty good day. Some of it was boring, and we didn’t get to explore anywhere very exciting. I think mama would rather take me camping than to another trial. She says this was my last title so I don’t have to go in a ring anymore unless that’s what I want to do.
Gee, I don’t know mama. Retirement sounds nice, but I did sort of really love that nosework class last year…
Click on any photo and you’ll be able to scroll through larger versions of all the images above.
I stopped at a few places on the way home. What would have been a five hour drive turned into nine. And I got rained on. A lot. Still, it was so much fun.
I have lots of other things to show you, but they weren’t necessarily dominated by green…so they didn’t fit here. I suppose that will mean a post with random photos coming soon.
On the other hand, Katie-girl has much to say and you know how hard it is to silence a princess.
Saturday on Lake Michigan.
Yesterday, after the fog lifted I wandered in the Leelanau State Park hiking trails that wind through cedar and beech trees, then up to the dunes that separate the woods from the shore of Lake Michigan.
It’s a magical place, and I was lucky – there were very few bugs! I loved how the light sifted through the newly minted leaves.
And though there were few bugs, there were plenty of natives scurrying around in the leaves on the forest floor…
…and scolding me from behind tree trunks.
I enjoyed the cool trail through the damp deep woods…
…but after a bit the trail left the dark woods and began to climb up and around sandy and more open dunes. The trees changed too, from deep dark forest to open and airy.
Eventually the trail spilled out onto perfectly beautiful dunes and provided a view of the lake. What a pretty picture!
I probably should have climbed over those dunes to the lake. You never know what you’ll find. But it was getting late in the day, so I headed on through the woods. I met a new friend sleeping in a sunny spot on the trail. He wasn’t as excited to meet me as I was to notice him, and he silently moved away.
And just before the parking lot I found a sweet little patch of forget-me-nots.
Later in the evening I waited in anticipation for sunset. I must have run down to the beach a dozen times, hoping that this was the one great shot. Turns out it was a pink and purple, more gentle kind of sunset. Still it was pretty. I’ve put together a short slide show for your enjoyment.
That way you don’t have to do all those stairs yourself.
Overnight I listened to a lighthouse fog horn warning ships that the shore wasn’t visible. This morning the horn was still blowing and the lake had disappeared behind a heavy veil.
My plan for today was to explore nearby orchards; I’ve never been here when they were in bloom, and I saw several on my drive that looked promising. But in the fog?
I thought about it while I was eating cereal, staring out into grey nothingness. Contemplating. After all, a flowering tree is beautiful in the sun, but might it be more interesting in the fog?
Certainly worth a walk.
Everything is so green up here, and the fog made it seem to drip green dew into the green air.
At the top of a hill was an orchard in full bloom.
I’ve tried many times to catch the patterns and symmetry of orchards. It’s hard to show the patterns, they’re so large. But every time I’m up here, whatever the season, I try.
I guess I find orchards fascinating.
I love the patterns and textures, especially when they’re in bloom.
Later this afternoon the sun came out. I went for a walk in the woods, and on my way back I drove by the orchard to see what it might look like without fog.
Turns out they are just as pretty in the sunlight.
I’ve got to organize the photos from my walk in the woods. Maybe you’ll see those tomorrow. But the sun is still shining here, sparkling on the water. There’s a chance we’ll get a sunset tonight.
If so you’ll probably see that first.
Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.
I saw this unusual trillium on my walk in the northern fog this morning. I’ve never seen one like it. Trillium season is so short I’m lucky to get an extension by being in the north this weekend.
I’m off on a little vacation; just me myself and I plus one cat. And a really big lake.
On the five hour drive north I saw a couple sights worthy of stopping, even though it was a drizzling, damp, grey, kind of nothing in particular sort of day.
Still, there was evidence that spring was marching on regardless of the dreary weather.
At the lake mist was still clinging to the hilltops above the gentle giant of a lake.
I went for my first walk along the shore, glad to be near the water, not caring what the weather would bring. And then I noticed a lightening of the air; the sun was fighting the low hanging clouds.
But looking the other way down the beach, the clouds were piling in.
The sun and clouds tussled the rest of the day, until late in the afternoon when the sun finally broke free.
I thought perhaps there would be a spectacular sunset, but now mist is moving from the horizon toward shore. There probably won’t be any sunset at all.
Which works out fine, because I don’t think I can stay awake that long anyway.
Usually Katie-girl tells you about our latest camping adventure. But she says we didn’t do anything exciting so she’s willing to let me talk.
Spring has been fickle here in Michigan, Cold and rainy and then sunny and hot. When the weather people said we were going to have a couple of days in the 80s (26.6C) with nights in the 60s (15.5C) I thought we should head to the woods for this season’s inaugural camp.
I was lucky to score a site that, though small, had a spot to tuck the tent under some shade trees. It lacked grass, but that’s the price you often pay to have shade. And Katie, though she’s a princess, doesn’t mind hanging out on dirt.
I didn’t make a list of things to take. I just sort of grabbed things as I thought of them and piled them all up next to the front door in the days preceding our scheduled trip.
Katie watched intently.
On Wednesday, as I began to pack the car she stayed under my feet, “helping” me get everything stowed. Even with her help, however, I forgot the bug spray, the sunscreen and the broom, all important things on a camping expedition. I blame her.
Still, even without important essentials it was heaven to be under the trees, enjoying the breeze and reading, then going for a walk, helping ourselves to a bit of a snack. Then a nap and repeat.
On a Wednesday afternoon I was privileged to be sitting under a blue sky watching the leaves dance in the wind and the light move across the landscape. Not at work, not at the grocery store, not doing laundry, not vacuuming.
Katie is very good at just being, but me? Not so much. It’s an acquired skill, I think, the art of just enjoying where you are when you’re there without worrying about what happened yesterday or might happen later in the day.
Our first night was perfect, not too cold, not too hot. I slept great, and even Katie lounged around until after 6 a.m. Thursday the sun bore down on us and the winds were strong. I watched the tree limbs above our tent flail about and pictured them crashing down. The temperatures rose, the wind roared.
Katie and I went for a drive in the air conditioned car, she sitting in the front seat with her nose in the air conditioning vent. We headed down to the lake where were we could watch the clouds skip across the blue sky and the waves rush to shore.
We enjoyed walking on the trails too. The wind wasn’t too bad back in the woods.
Later that day we went back to the lake to see the sunset, and even though there wasn’t much of a show we enjoyed being out there, though the temperatures were dropping fast.
Our second night in the tent was miserable. For me anyway. Temps dropped to 43 degrees (6.11C). I wore all my clothes, doubled up the blankets, pulled the sweatshirt hood up over my ears. Still it was too cold to sleep. Katie, on the other hand, thought it was perfect and snoozed the night away.
By morning I was more than ready to go back to civilization, with pillow topped mattresses, heat, running water, toilets closer than a half mile away. But the drive home was disconcerting. People were driving to work, fast and furious. I could feel stress begin to build just watching them dart around me.
And then I remembered. I was driving home to a hot shower and breakfast. Not to work.