After yesterday’s rant about Michigan winters, we decided to buck up and face the enemy. The gray days, combined with collective cases of cabin fever have dragged this family down, so we geared up and ventured outdoors.
I like to think of Michigan as a mini New Zealand, in that we have such varied terrain, climate, and plenty of water. We left our house, which is situated in a very flat middle-of-nowhere, and drove 30 minutes to the St. Clair River and followed it north, watching the giant ice shards float their way to the mouth of Lake Huron.
We passed beneath the Blue Water Bridge (oh, hey Canada!) and wound our way up to Lexington, a quaint little lakeside town that thrives in the summer. Now, sheets of plywood board half the windows, and half the residents are sunning themselves in Ft. Lauderdale. Still, the year-rounders seem to embrace the season, despite being repeatedly blasted by the Arctic winds that rush off the frozen waves of Lake Huron.
We wandered down to the community park, where ice fishermen lounged in their shanties in the marina where, six months ago, sailboats and yachts floated in the docks. Snowmobile tracks crisscrossed the landscape, and two ice-skating rinks flanked a small amphitheater where it looked like a band had actually recently played.
We watched the kids climb around on the playscape (which rose up out of three-foot snowdrifts like some wonderland castle), then we gathered our nerve and headed to the pier. Piles of ten-foot boulders lift this half-mile long sidewalk out past the marina and over the open lake, the surface of which had crystallized into a miniature ice-mountain vista. The wind, thankfully, was mild as we clung to the bright blue handrail.
We made it about 15 feet. A couple, making their way back and looking pale, warned us away; sheets of ice covered the narrow pier and we might slip and plummet between the aforementioned boulders, never to be heard from again. We turned back and slid on the ice rink instead.
Yesterday I railed against March, despised it for being the longest month of the year. Well, I take it back. Spending time, just me and my family playing out in the winter wind, recharged me. Today, it’s sunny and 24 (a heat wave!) and I guess March isn’t so bad after all.