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Michigan Seasons Now and Then July 31 09

Picture yourself standing in a beautifully landscaped garden, gazing across Gun Lake at the far shoreline. Out on the waters, swimmers dive off of pontoon boats while speed boats go whizzing by with skiers in tow. Closer to land, at the ends of the countless docks which string along the lake’s circumference like wooden beads on an immense necklace, shore fishermen are making their appeals to the local bass and panfish.

Such is the view along the walk at the Bay Pointe Inn on the southwest side of Gun Lake—a view that epitomizes the fullness, the warmth, and the pleasantness of a Michigan summer. In July, you can treat your eyes to many other vistas that convey a similar feeling: long stretches of sand dunes bellying up to the broad, shining waters of Lake Michigan…far-reaching fields of tall, emerald corn ripening in the dog-days sun…colorful boats patrolling the channels at Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon while walkers of every age mingle along the piers…campgrounds filled with tents, voices, the laughter of children, and the smell of burgers cooking over Coleman stoves. Summer in Michigan has a thousand expressions, all with a similar, welcome feeling about them. The Gun Lake panorama is just one.

Here is another view across Gun Lake. This one, however, was taken not only from the opposite shore, but also from the far end of the year, on one of the coldest days of January, 2009.

Remember winter?

Here at the cusp of August, amid the flush of summer greenery, it seems incredible that the snowy season even exists. But when we’re in the midst of winter’s frigid, dark belly, it’s hard to believe it will ever end. That polar contrast is one of the ironies of Michigan—to some, a blessing; to others, a curse. No matter how you look at the seasonal extremes, though, one thing is sure: they provide a drama and interest that only those who live in the snow belt can appreciate.

Michigan now and Michigan then. Michigan in the summer and in the winter, in its festive colors and in its funereal starkness. Remembering one helps us keep the other in perspective. Strange as it may seem, our long slide toward winter has begun. But we have yet many, many bright, warm days ahead of us before the last of the painted leaves drop and the snows begin to fly. Here in the height of summer, images of winter have a beauty that’s much easier to appreciate when we can enjoy it without having to experience all that accompanies it.

Today there is no bitter cold. Today the sun sets around nine o’clock, not five. The single-digit temperatures that attended this last photograph when it was taken aren’t present to chill either you or me to the marrow. That’s one of the pleasures of photography: we get to enjoy the beauty of then with the convenience of now.

Of course, that principle works equally well in reverse. Sometime this winter, you’ll no doubt find a splash of summer color in this blog to remind you that while winter can seem long and cold, it’s not forever. Some of you, the snow-lovers, may wish it was forever. Others will feel glad for the encouraging reminder that the warm months will inevitably arrive once again.

Enjoy your summer, and don’t fret about the winter. Both seasons have their unique beauty. That’s the blessing of the Michigan seasons, both now and then.





Written by Dave.