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close to the earth + roadside cherry stands

July 31, 2011

Next weekend marks the summer tradition I look forward to more than anything else.

Early on Thursday morning, my House Church friends and I will jam two cars full of tents, roasting sticks, coolers, sunscreen, bathing suits and backpacks. We will gobble up freshly baked scones, crank up the cheesy guilty pleasure iPod playlist, and head north.

Four whole days of camping in Northern Michigan.

Four whole days of living, sleeping, eating, and breathing close to the earth, close to each other, closer to the this that settles somewhere deep inside your bones, saying “yes” over and over to the community of water, earth, sky and dear friends (and s’mores).


I love eating homemade marshmallows roasted over a crackling beach bonfire, watching the sun turn Lake Michigan indigo and coral red. I love staying up far too late, laughing and drinking beer and ruminating on life’s mysteries. I love rising before everyone else, early with the sun, to walk the woods, reading Wendell Berry, writing, and feeling a peace so deep that it seems to surround me like a haze. I love gazing up through the trees to a sky so thick with stars that we could gulp them down, feeling the hugeness of His divinity and love rushing down through my whole body, making me tremble with its ferocity.

I stopped by the bookstore after church today, wanting to pick up another volume of Wendell Berry’s poetry to take with me. His words are the voice I hear in my head as my feet feel the damp dirt underneath, as I watch the lake lap and laugh with its unruly waves, as I smell fresh coffee brewing over a campfire. I found this in the last volume of his I read and it feels right as I look forward to this coming weekend:

“…and it said, ‘Put your hands
into the earth. Live close
to the ground. Learn the darkness.
Gather round you all you love, name their names…”

[wendell berry, song for a year of catastrophe]


3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 4:49 pm

    I’m drooling a little. And crying a little too. This makes me miss Michigan *so* much. The roadside cherry stands were always my very favorite part of summer. Where did you go camping? The picture of the lake is stunning. sigh.

  2. Caroline permalink*
    August 2, 2011 5:52 pm

    These are actually photos from last summer, but we’re camping in the same place — the Platte River Campgrounds, near the Sleeping Bear Dunes. 🙂

    There is nothing, NOTHING, like Northern Michigan in the summer. I hope you get to come enjoy those beauties sometime soon!


  1. dear “jayber crow”… « surprised by joy

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