Sunday, September 27, 2015

An Imperfect Sunrise

I'm not an early bird so you'll rarely see sunrise images on my blog.  But this particular morning, I was out the door at 6:15 a.m. on my way to pick up a friend and then head downstate for the wedding of two very dear friends.  Because it was forecast to be a clear morning, I had my camera ready to catch the sunrise as we drove along the bay. 

We pulled into the boat launch just south of Suttons Bay and could see the first blush of the sunrise beginning to paint the sky.

The boat launch was actually quite busy with one boat after another heading out into the bay at what appeared to be a prime time for fishing.

As we neared Traverse City, I began to wonder if there was going to be the perfect sunrise that I'd been expecting.  The colors were diffuse across the whole sky versus concentrated in one location where the sunrise was supposed to be.

And sure enough, the expected time of the sunrise of 7:34 a.m. came and went without seeing the sun actually rise.  Bummer.

So my focus shifted to the drive out of town.  But as we climbed the last big hill on M-37 heading past the buffalo farm, I caught sight of the sun rising behind some trees.  We quickly shifted gears and headed down a dirt road we'd never traveled before.  It was an idyllic scene.  A gorgeous orangey pink sky.  Buffalo grazing along the hillside.  A flock of birds crossing the sky in formation.  Perfect, except for the power lines and barbed wire fencing that crisscrossed the entire scene!  I drove back and forth trying to find a perspective without wires.  Sometimes trying to take the perfect picture reminds me of how hard it is to make it into the playoffs for a baseball team.  A lot of things have to come together and some of them are beyond your control.  It just doesn't always work out the way you want it to.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Peculiar Goings-on at "Lake" Northport

Many wonderful changes have been happening to Northport in recent years.  New restaurants, a golf course, a brewery, an upgraded marina, an inn, and a bowling alley are just a few.  But the improvement I enjoy most is the rebuilding and resurfacing of M-22 from Omena to Northport.  It isn't hard to recall the bumpy, potholed road we all traveled for several years.  While the job is mostly completed, a small lake has formed at the intersection of M-22 and M-201, a result of construction that MDOT still has not resolved.

I drive by the water often, but one day, as I whizzed by, my eye caught sight of a white duck in the pond.  At that point, I thought the duck was real, possibly a snow goose lost in the process of migration.  But after I drove by more slowly another time, I realized the duck was some kind of sculpture.  I laughed at the sense of humor of whoever had put the duck in the water.

A few days later, as I drove by again, I saw that a flamingo had joined the duck at the far south end of the pond.  Again, it generated more laughter and I began to wonder who had begun "populating" the pond.

This week a new critter entered the pond at its north end...a big, green fat alligator this time.  I again laughed, but began to think more seriously about who would have the sense of humor plus access to such wonderful kitsch.  And I think I knew!

I began to wonder which critter the alligator might devour first, the duck or the flamingo?  Or what critter might be next to populate "Lake" Northport.  Stay tuned as the story unfolds.  And MDOT, you might want to take care of this problem in the near future, before the pond fills with too many more items.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Sun Sets on Another Summer

Living in the woods as I do, it's sometimes difficult to tell what's going on in the sky.  The forecast for Labor Day had been miserable, yet it turned out to be a lovely day with moderate temperatures and lots of sunshine.  I decided to see what the sunset had in store for this last "unofficial" day of summer.

As I left the neighborhood, I could see plenty of pale blue sky interspersed with wispy thin high clouds.  The cloud cover was much less significant than any of my weather apps had indicated.

But as I arrived at Peterson Park, I could see a significant cloud bank was surrounding the sun and thunderheads appeared to be forming along the horizon.

The cloud formations continually shape shifted as the sun sank lower in the sky.  A couple near me quietly discussed what objects they were saw in the cloud formations.  They saw a schnauzer, while I saw Kokopelli.

As the sun dipped into the horizon, the round orb finally freed itself of clouds and became sharply visible.  The water, like the sky, was cast with an orange glow.

Only a tiny fragment of the sun remained visible...

although the sky still vibrated with the its presence.

The fiery afterglow was reminiscent of skies I'd seen in photographs of the western wildfires.  Even though the last official day of summer is two weeks away, the feeling of fall has begun to creep into my consciousness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Herding Up for Winter? Not Yet.

Before I went on my trip to the Upper Peninsula, winter must have been I on mind.  We were in an unseasonably cool spell for August, with highs only in the sixties.  Then I saw the 2016 Farmers' Almanac in the grocery story and that made me think of winter too.  But what I was seeing in the natural world was new behaviors among my deer herd.  I had 13 visitors that afternoon to my deer block!  They couldn't be herding up already for winter, could they, I wondered?  Some of my young bucks were even sporting significant velvet.

Upon my return, things had normalized for August weather and so had my deer visiting patterns.  The main visitors to my deer block were my regulars, a doe and her growing fawn.  The fawn was nearly as tall as her mother, although its spots were still very evident.

Mom was very watchful of my photographing her and the fawn, but she didn't bolt and her fawn kept nibbling away at the block.

After a while, the fawn went off and I thought it had gone exploring.  But on closer inspection, I could see it resting through the copse of trees at the back of my property.

A few minutes later the fawn came out and began exploring the grounds around the deer block.

She re-joined her mom after a while and they ate a bit more from the deer block before wandering off into the woods.  Clearly, despite my earlier concerns and signs, there was no sign of winter in sight...especially with temps in the mid-80s on these early September days.