The formation of Lake Michigan began two million years ago with the birth of the Ice Age. The last Wisconsinan glacier gouged out the lake I now wander down through silver sand to dip my toes into. The water temperature is a painful 54 degrees fahrenheit. The air temperature is a perfect 76 degrees. Spring blooms and bounty come late and shyly when tempered by the fifth largest lake by surface in the world.
9,500 years ago, as the last of the ice sheets melted to form Glacial Lake Algonquin, Paleo-Indians hunted mammoths, mastodons and musk ox a little west of here because of 50 feet of higher water. Incredibly, those old beachlines are still visible.
We joyfully fight the crowds to find a small space of beach sand to smell the sunshine on the dunes...or maybe not. We hold hands walking north for an empty mile, after 34 years of marriage I forget to ask for a kiss that would have been given freely with a smile. His hand fits comfortly familiar in mine as the oncoming waves make us jump sideways laughing.
The cordwalk trail floats on sand. The dunes are so fragile that a footstep off trail can destroy an endangered or threatened plant species. The endangered Sand Dune Thistle, and Dune Willow live here and so do the threatened Clustered Broomrape, Dune Goldenrod and Thickspike Wheatgrass.
Some trails grab and drag one forward into discovery and delight.
Spring comes late here, as does cloud cover color change. How does the lake turn from turquoise blue to slate grey and the silver white sand find pink or blue in its shadow in a moment of cloud shade?
Simple deer trails cause sand blows on fragile dunes. So do human beings.
Creeping and Dwarf Juniper and White Pine struggle in the shifting sand to hold their stand. Some are quickly buried in a fresh east wind.
Tiny Silverweed shines a cheery golden in its spring glory.
Oh my, wild cherry blossoms do bloom in the most unusual places.
My nose takes a long sniff...and I sigh and sneeze.
Sandhill cranes call from their nest sites in the interdunal wetlands nearby.
One last look to set firm memories of this day in my mind.
I'll return soon to once again touch the things I love.