April 20,2023–The weather is back this week to normal April and the only one that is really happy with this wet, gusty cold is Sonny. To a degree, Colebrook and Hawthorn, love taking advantage of the bad weather canceling tennis and track events to go deep into the Shutz woods to build mountain bike trails. And not a half hour here and there, but half days and full days of immersion in the budding woods. All that time hanging out in nature with their downhill buddies creates a contentedness in them that makes me as a parent happier to see than any grade they could bring home.
Last night, I drove back from giving a talk in Ann Arbor and checked in with Steph. Sonny was itchy for a walk. It was close to twilight and calm and moist from a recent cool drizzle. I needed a walk myself after 5 hours of car time, so I trekked by the trail-digging crew and Sonny and I watched four boys raking and shoveling fresh soil into a smooth banked turn under a big hemlock tree. Sonny rolled in the freshly exposed soil as if it was a gift. We left them and walked up to a view through the leafless hardwoods of the Bohemian valley opening up to Good Harbor Bay. Then we walked a different route down to the old Bohemian cemetery full of the characters of my childhood—Old Joe Novotney, Bessie, Swampy Kraitz. These tombstones carried some of the most rooted names in Leelanau. The graveyard was only 1/3 full, and I wondered what 21st-century residents could ever be buried here and fit in?
Sonny was pulling me across the road to where two of the Gardiner’s horses were huffing and dashing around trying their best to get our attention. I brought Sonny over to meet these two beautiful specimens with their thick winter coats wet and glistening in the last light of the day. A little courtship began, with Sonny dashing up and down the fence line, while the powerful horses spun, swayed, and galloped. Then, Sonny, the little pony of a dog, and these two powerful hoofed beasts settled and put their noses toward each other. I petted the big white horse and Sonny stuck his nose into the fence and the horse and dog were face to face. A peacefulness settled down around us as if there was a contented fairy sprinkled spell in the mist.