Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Michigan 101

Michigan  consists of people who live near work and own a cabin Up North where they go to enjoy life away from work. There is a LOT of Up North in Michigan, which roughly starts halfway up the Lower Peninsula and continues into the Upper Peninsula.

Up North consists of open country, farm land, forests, inland lakes, rivers, and the Great Lakes. People who live below this demarcation are called Trolls, and the Trolls who visit Up North tourist towns are called Fudgies. Because a lot of fudge is made and sold in these tourist towns. We use our hands to show where we live. I currently live Up North in Pentwater, which is south of Ludington and north of Muskegon on the sunset side of the lower hand.

Michigan mapped to two hands. Awesome.

Pentwater is a tourist town overrun with Fudgies for two months of the year. It has a natural marina, sand beaches, and lovely views. Charles Mears State Park campground is here, and a large marina. After Labor Day the Fudgies disappear. By Thanksgiving even the permanent folk disappear: they are called Snowbirds, as they travel to warmer climes for the winter. Pentwater folk only need to travel inland to escape the brutal Lake Effect snows and wind! Some of our Snowbirds go to Metro Detroit and Chicago, some to Arizona and Texas.

Mears was one of the 19th century lumber barons who cut down the virgin forests to rebuild Chicago afte its great fire. We used to live in Muskegon, with it's own State Park and its lumber baron, Hackley. Michigan history in the late 19th c was shaped by the men who decimated the forests.

The one track of virgin fores left in Michigant is Hartwick Pines, and has some wondrously huge trees there, the kind the Native Americans would have experienced as a normal forest once upon a time. Some are 350 years old!


Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the country, and the second longest coastline. We have 36 million acres of forest remaining. We are the country's largest producer of asparagus, right here in Oceana County. Eagles, coyotes, black bear, turkeys, and wolves have rebounded in numbers all over the state. Even in Metro area, deer are causing traffic accidents. There is a Peregrine Falcon in the park down the street near our Metro Detroit home.

Then there is the southern tier of the state, with Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids was famous for its furniture industry, Flint for cars, Battle Creek for cereal and Kellogg's sanitarium. And Kalamazoo for its use in the song I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo. And it is the home of Gibson guitars. Detroit is now famous for being bankrupt and considering selling art from the Detroit Institute of Arts one of the premier art museums in the country. They have one of my favorite works, Coxtopaxi by Frank Church: http://www.dia.org/object-info/baeac490-f496-4a17-b917-dd0216d11492.aspx

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