The wind in the tent shuttered the rainfly. One of my favorite alarm clocks. As the last asleep, there was no question that I was also the last to wake. Ariella, Ezra and Ryan sat outside the tent. They greeted me joyfully. This was the moment in which I was ecstatic that I had the opportunity to share this whole experience with some of my dearest friends! How the Lord has brought us together to invest in each other’s lives is exquisite.
First order of business was getting food. We were already out near Empire, camping, so the obvious choice became heading to Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor. We loaded up the van and took off for the day’s adventures.
Just weeks previous to our trip, a pseudo-tornado storm devastated the woods off the shores of Lake Michigan near where we were staying. As we drove around, my heart hurt, because it wasn’t quite the level of beauty as normal. And yet, the greens of the tree lines and the crystal blues of the water were unparalleled in range of vibrancy. The rolling hillsides and giant oaks bowed over the road, as if protecting each vehicle from the direct sunshine. It was cool, but not cold. High 70’s to mid 80’s, with a clear blue sky. When we got to Art’s, the hour long wait meant no breakfast, but lunch? We walked around the streets, grabbed some coffee, and walked down to the water front. That clear blue sky set a horizon line to the water front. The green landlines jutted out and the Sleeping Bear Dunes made their first appearance from afar. We dipped our feet in the water. Ezra and Ariella skipped rocks. Ryan enjoyed his coffee that we bought at Leelanau Coffee Roasting. And something became very clear to me. Home is genuinely where the heart is. My friends is where my heart often lies, so just being with them made me at home.
We ate at Art’s. Took a pit stop at the bathrooms to change out of pjs and brush our teeth, and headed down the coast towards Empire to climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes, mountains of sand. Legend has it that a mother bear and her cubs were escaping a forest fire in Wisconsin, having to swim across Lake Michigan to find safety. The mother bear swam and reached the shore first, and turned to see her cubs were nowhere to be found. The cubs never reached the shoreline. The mother bear laid her head to rest, becoming the giant mountain of sand, Sleeping Bear. Her cubs became the Manitou Islands. We climbed the dunes and enjoyed the beautiful view from the top.
Next we headed to North Bar Lake for a swim! This is where a lot of nostalgia took place. There have been many tripsout to this spot over the years. The water was great for me, but cold for everyone else. As I swam out, I was revitalized. The Lord constantly encounters me through water, so as the water washed over me, it was just like sitting in the presence of the Father, and boy did I need it!
We walked back to the van and headed out to Moomer’s, recently voted the best scoop of ice cream in America by Good Morning America! There, we got a mess of goodness and ate it pretty darn quick. Then we headed downtown to Nolan’s to grab some tobacco for after our evening festivities.
Day two of Microbrew festival, The Avett Brothers! And yet, after everything that happened in the day, seeing them wasn’t even the best part of the day. Not to mention the fact that MY SISTER GOT ENGAGED shortly before the show. The soothing folk harmonies and stomping kick drum quickly became nothing more than the cherry on top of the Saturday Sundae!
The Lord wanted me to experience this day. Everywhere we went, I saw Jesus. His beauty, unassuming and yet evident! That’s what I see in the swooping farm lands, forestry, watershed and earth of Northern Michigan. He created it all! From a blank canvas He said “this is where I will pour out a fragment of my beauty!” This brought me peace and rest as I laid my head down to sleep that night.