Bob's Blog Up North Blog

The Dog Days of Summer

July 21, 2022

Photo: The Leelanau TICKER

On Sunday night, I took Sonny for a walk in the Hemlock woods near our house. We’ve been in these woods so many times, but this was different. I was barefoot and softly stepping into a symphony of plants and soils and would-be obstacles. It started by stepping through a squishy cattail marsh just off the road that left Sonny’s and my feet cool and muddy. Then through a soft mat of mosses and lichen with ferns tickling our legs. Next, there was a scattering of vetch and picker plants to avoid, but around them were rich green grasses sprouting in the soft dark earth. We climbed across a giant root system floating two feet above the muck.

And then we came to the little creek coming from underground the hills above us. The crystal clear water was mostly flowing through dark soil, but there was a sand section that we walked upstream on. We crossed the stream and kept going and I started moving faster and I gained confidence. But then we came to another creek — much darker and muckier. I saw what I thought was another patch of sand, and stepped into the three inch deep creek and my body sank to my waist in cold muck. I pulled two black legs out as quickly as I could. We circled through a cedar forest with a mat of dried sprigs to the Shalda Creek culvert to wash off.

Through these sunny, busy days, it was so soothing for both of us to be strolling in those dark quiet woods. Sonny has been spending a lot of time at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, and his work is greeting and being still for long periods of petting. The giant Swissy also squeezes awkwardly under the picnic tables to clean up the odd french fry accidentally dropped. He even poses for pictures, like the one that appeared in the Leelanau TICKER this week. And for me, after a few high exposure days, it’s nice to hide out in the deep woods. After too much rushing, a slow meandering barefoot walk is a perfect cure.