function blogger_query_vars_filter( $vars ) { $vars[] = "blogger"; return $vars; } add_filter('query_vars', 'blogger_query_vars_filter'); function blogger_template_redirect() { global $wp_query; $blogger = $wp_query->query_vars['blogger']; if ( isset ( $blogger ) ) { wp_redirect( get_wordpress_url ( $blogger ) , 301 ); exit; } } add_action( 'template_redirect', 'blogger_template_redirect' ); function get_wordpress_url($blogger) { if ( preg_match('@^(?:https?://)?([^/]+)(.*)@i', $blogger, $url_parts) ) { $query = new WP_Query ( array ( "meta_key" => "blogger_permalink", "meta_value" => $url_parts[2] ) ); if ($query->have_posts()) { $query->the_post(); $url = get_permalink(); } wp_reset_postdata(); } return $url ? $url : home_url(); } Up North Captured Moments: The Color of Summer

The Color of Summer

The Color of Summer

Back in 1990, the London recording label produced a CD featuring the popular opera soprano from New Zealand, Kiri TeKanawa singing with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra (which CD, by the way, is now a hot collector’s item, and one we happen to own). The title track from the album that Kiri sings is a warm song entitled, “Blue Skies”.  I think of that song often, especially during our warm summer days ‘up north’ with our own abundance of blue skies...and blue water.  These are indeed the very special days of summer.

Not the only color of summer, one can add lush green to Northern Michigan’s palette; all the trees are sporting that color, not to mention our gardens.  There’s also the vibrant color of both the English and French Lavender bushes that surround our flower gardens, and the deep red of our Bee Balm plants.  Add to that the happy colored Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly Bushes and Day Lilies, among others; everywhere we look, there is vibrant color.  Just yesterday, Shannon and the boys experienced the rich red color of plump, juicy, fresh picked cherries they had just gleaned from a nearby cherry orchard.  Even our morning sunrises are things of colorful wonder to behold.  Driving to work along West Grand Traverse Bay the other day, I had just crested a hill; Marion Island was out in front of me across the bay as the sun was near the horizon of nearby Old Mission Peninsula…there were just enough high cirrus clouds that morning to create a multi-layered band of vibrant colors that only lasted a few minutes, then it was gone. What a way to start the day.

Such things are not proprietary to Traverse City; there are many other places ‘up north’ where beautiful sunrises may be seen, especially if one doesn’t mind rising a little bit earlier of a day to see them.  During one particular morning last summer, we were awakened at the old family cabin on Burt Lake (near Indian River) by one of those blazing sunrises that turned the whole sky a brilliant orange and red.  It just looked like fire, while the intense reflection of that pre-dawn sky was mirrored on the perfectly placid waters of Burt Lake; it was a breathtaking scene to behold.

An ‘up north’ summer can also sport the colors of fun. Take our family's 1920’s era Sears-Roebuck do-it-yourself cabin kit built on the southern shores of Burt Lake, add two little boys, and, well, you never know what color of fun you’ll get.  One day, it was multi-colored clothes pins they clamped in their hair to surprise us with (we almost choked on our morning coffee, we were laughing so hard at the sight), or the color of freshly caught fish, or the bright red water raft they like to ride on behind the old motor boat, or the color of their July birthday cakes and colorfully wrapped presents (yes, plural; their birthdays are only three days apart).

Speaking of ‘the cabin’, that's a subject that almost deserves its' own’s not only a place that exists ‘up north’, it’s also a state of mind, a way of life during the more laid-back months of summer.  Fun and memorable things happen up north at 'the cabin', especially when our two little boys happen to be around.  Yes, the floors are old (and uneven), the walls are of unfinished wood, and the roof leaks around the old stone chimney sometimes, but few things in this world can evoke so much warm emotion, or stir up so many wonderful memories, as when we hear -- or even mention the phrase -- “up north at the cabin.”  If you've ever smelled the aroma of fresh baked bread coming out of the oven, how did that make you feel?  Well, you get idea.  One may never smell fresh baked bread at the cabin (unless the kitchen ever catches on fire), but you probably will smell fresh brewed coffee on a crisp morning, or the aroma of a few logs burning in the fireplace to help get the day started.  If those things don't add some warm 'color' to our up north summers, brilliant sunsets reflecting off the lake of a summer’s night certainly will.  Or perhaps the blinking, yellow flicker of fire-flies that we often see while sitting around a nearby campfire; there’s really no end to the character of the color of what a summer day up north (or at the cabin) will bring.

Cabins and campfires aside, one of the many reasons we designed this blog was to not only capture and convey the warm feelings and emotions that our ‘up north’ experiences bring us, but more so to help enrich the lives of others who either have never had the chance to visit or live here, or who may have visited the area briefly, but had to leave it all to return to a big city somewhere far away, perhaps leaving of bit of their heart behind.  Shannon's new line of some two-dozen 'up north' themed cards beautifully captures some of those emotions; they can be found in many of our finer Northern Michigan stores now, and later, on-line via our website.  We simply take great joy in being able to offer our many friends the opportunity to take a little bit of the heaven we have to enjoy  home with them, until they can return again soon.

I am reminded of a wonderful little prayer that Shannon and I included in the bulletins we handed out to our nearly 400 guests, many of whom were from out-of-town, who made the journey to Northern Michigan for our wedding that sunny May day back in 1993.  I met Shannon during the time I was working at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a wonderful place that holds many special memories for both of us.  One of those included this same prayer that was spoken responsively at the close of every Sunday morning service at Kresge Auditorium during the summer arts camp sessions.  Called, 'A Camper's Prayer', it hails from the New Hymnal for American Youth from the early 1930’s; it is perhaps a fitting benediction to today's entry:
“God of the hills, grant us the strength to go back into the cities without faltering, strength to do our daily task without tiring and with enthusiasm, and strength to help our neighbors who have no hills to remember.

God of the lake, grant us Thy peace and Thy restfulness, peace to bring into a world of hurry and confusion, restfulness to carry to the tired whom we shall meet every day, content to do small things with a freedom from littleness, self-control for the unexpected emergency, and patience for the wearisome task, with deep depths within our soul to bear us through the crowded places.

Grant us the hush of the night time when the pine trees are dark against the sky line, the humbleness of the hills who in their mightiness know it not, and the laughter of the sunny waves to brighten the cheerless spots of a long winter.

God of the stars, may we take back Your gifts of friendship and of love for all. Fill us with great tenderness for the needy person at every turning. Grant that in all our perplexities and everyday decisions we may keep an open mind.

God of the wilderness, with Thy pure winds from the northland, blow away our pettiness; with the harsher winds of winter, drive away our selfishness and hypocrisy; fill us with the breadth and depth and height of Thy wilderness.

May we live out the truths which Thou hast taught us, in every thought and word and deed.