The Northern Michigan JournalPREVIOUSSummer Story IndexNEXT

Still.
Lapping waves
murmur against summer sun
while sand
white as bone
reflects back to blue sky.
Breeze in trees
a buzz
like tired bees.

Morning broken
with sound of voices
loud and young
gathering
with sunlight, excitement.
Bows
strung with colored string,
striped.
Arrows
tipped with suction cups,
yellow, plastic feathers.
Cardboard quivers filled,
thunk,
with every arrow.
Tied by rope around waist
or slung over shoulder.
Broom shaft spear,
pointed,
concrete as sharpening stone,
or rock head
secured by weave
of electrical tape,
black and plastic,
shiny.
Release
of the warriors,
black-haired four.
Boy, girl, boy, girl.
Blond-haired two,
boy, girl.
Run through green grass,
war cries and laughter
hop over small bush
along fresh mown path,
tall grass standing sentinel,
down wood-faced steps
filled with sand and grass,
weave right,
weave left,
and right,
avoid the patch of poison ivy
and
they run free
down the slope of the valley of the dunes
momentum
building with their voices.
They thrill
in eternity of summer,
though only two have seen ten.
Through tunnel of trees
as dunes converge
framing
the Big Lake,
Michigan,
its endless monologue
set to waves.
Clamber down more wooden steps
and
spray out onto the beach,
narrow between wave and bluff,
reaching indolently up,
a casual cliff,
green and white,
two humps of purple-brown clay
poking out front.
Beach stands as avenue,
north-south.
North to distant pier,
white lighthouse stands on horizon, capped with black.
South past distant bluffs,
green,
wandering
lazily with the lake.
Wander north,
picking amid drift wood shapes,
hunt petosky stones
mid lapping water,
cool to the touch of feet
and reaching hands.
They wade
on layers of stone, rock,
painful to all but young
toughened feet, bare.

Babble of voices
constant companion,
closer than kin
comfort
found in shared soul,
each partakes
and contributes
a portion
of their own.
Sand,
fine as crystal
crunches underfoot,
hoards sunlight
until,
at last,
will radiate
With Furnace Blast
to trap small feet.

Along the bank
streams
break free
to flow
along sand,
tumble down clay,
reach out
only to fade
feet before lapping surf.
Explore
the source
up dune.
Drink deep
from cupped hands,
numbing water,
clean as polished crystal
that runs and sparkles.
In verdant cleft
that follows
rolling tumble of water,
bushes, grass,
flowers and weeds
open to the beach.

Six dig
and build,
pile and dam.
with small hands,
reinforcing with rock and wood.
Run off path
old rubber hose
found at water's edge.
Conversations scattered
across growing pool
and wall of sand.

Occasional breaks
as one
or two
will meander
to Big Lake
and wade,
washing sand
from foot and knee,
playing with rock underfoot
with wiggling toes
until,
renewed,
return to project.

Roads
for stone cars
and boulder trucks
with trailers of blocks,
thick branches of wood,
weathered by water and wind.
Each with unique sound
supplied by young throats.
Sun crawls
as moments last
and pass,
moment by moment
til,
on distant wind
comes sound of bell,
deep,
beckoning.
Call To Lunch
as all
drop
all concentration
in need for
speed.
They race
along empty beach
up stairs,
climb dune,
with no breaking sweat
or harried breath.

Reverse
motion of
morning,
returning to cabin
for sandwiches
tailored to taste.
Laughing
ababble,
waiting to return
to tasks in waiting,
tomorrow.
After afternoon in town
filled to full
with swimming and ice cream.
Boats on Big Lake,
carferries and sailboats,
speedboats and freighters.
Evening of play
til rolled into bed
savoring each drop of
ripening summer
squeezed by hungry hands.


Copyright 2000 Manitou Publishing Co. & James C. Mitchell • All Rights Reserved.

The Northern Michigan JournalPREVIOUSSummer Story IndexNEXT


Leelanau Forum NMJ's Bookshelf
Mail to NMJNMJ Home Page
Absolute Michigan: Michigan Articles & Links!

webdesign by leelanau.com