I like the four seasons we experience here in Michigan.

Living on Beaver Island, with its wintertime isolation contrasting with summer’s influx of visitors, the season’s are even more distinct.

Labor Day marks the end of our busy summer season. In this economy, business drops off suddenly.

I’m right on top of it! When things slow down, I move instantly into my off-season pace.

Springtime, when things pick up, I’m a bit slower to catch the wave.

Through the winter, with time spreading out before me like a warm blanket, it’s easy to start new projects. Winter menus and New Year resolutions inspire new commitments to exercise. Time in the studio sparks several new creative pursuits. Maybe try encaustic painting…do a little clay work…get back into drawing…teach a class or two. A warm April encourages a whole new aspect in my garden. Why not? Time for writing…sure, commit to a blog. Add pages showcasing my art. And writing. And sure, why not even add book reviews.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of our summer season. Talk of the weather is replaced by speculation on summer business. Gas prices are up; the economy is not. It’s an election year; unemployment is still high. We depend so heavily here on summer’s bounty to carry us through the entire year, it’s always a concern. Will people come to Beaver Island?

They’re coming!

The days are once again punctuated by the blast of the ferry boat’s horn. The restaurants are adding their summer help. Businesses have changed to summer hours. Gift shops are open for the season. The streets are busy with cars and people. The islanders breathe a sigh of relief.

The second sigh is one of exhaustion.

I just finished working a stint of eleven days in a row. Actually, there was one day off squeezed in there, which I used to take my aunt to the mainland for medical tests. Not even considering the 8AM flight or the mainland traffic, a day spent in hospital waiting rooms and medical offices is not a relaxing day. I’m counting it as a work day. So, eleven days, many nine or more hours. Busy! My pedometer, which barely clocks ten thousand steps per day all winter no matter how many walks I add, was marking over double that, just during work hours!

I came home exhausted every night. Dragged myself out to walk the dogs. Put the most pathetic collection of meals together. Read a few meager paragraphs before falling asleep. No exercise program, no studio time, no gardening. No blog.

For my blog entry, I re-posted one of Renee Fisher’s “Life in the Boomer Lane” selections. She is an excellent writer, always thoughtful and often laugh-out-loud funny. It was a wonderful, encouraging post. It covered many issues that have been rolling around in my mind for quite some time. She spoke of those issues much more eloquently than I would have. Still, it felt like a cheat to my commitment. I’ve already quit writing the book reviews, having remembered that – though I love reading, and even enjoy reading reviews – I have always hated writing book reviews. Now I’ve sunk to re-blogging, as well.


When the tempo picks up this time of year, it takes me a while to catch up with it!

21 responses »

  1. Oh, you are being so hard on yourself! You’ve been very busy…why beat yourself up for re-blogging? Besides, it’s good to share something that sparked your own interest with others. Hope you get some relaxation time soon.

    • Thanks, Shelley, you are so kind. I do – eventually – get more in sync with the flurry around me. Once that happens, it’s not so exhausting and I’m able to fit in other activities. The transition is just hard, at first. Thanks for your encouragement!

  2. You have given me a real picture of life on Beaver Island – I love the sound of winter’s there – the quiet and the space. But it’s good news to hear that the visitors are coming, I know how small towns rely on these things. And as to blogging well that can wait – what matters is that you are happy and healthy and busy – I hope it’s a little less frenetic for you though!!

  3. I’ll get used to it, and will be able to roll with it by the time we reach our peak season – around the first of July. It’s just a bit of a shock to my system this time of year. We have only 400 year round residents, but more than 2000 summer residents, plus tourists and visitors that often swell our numbers into the ten thousands. Plus, two of my best co-workers were off for a week, which left me training our new summer help…just a lot at once. I do thrive on the busy-ness…but also love the quiet peace in the wintertime. Thanks for reading, Claire!

  4. It’s amazing how we are taken by surprise by predictable things like the changing seasons and what comes along with them. I can imagine the shift in activity on the island from winter to summer is quite dramatic, and even though it happens every year at the same time making the shift takes way more effirt than one would think.

    Good luck with your summer season. I hope the activity level becomes familiar to you again and you’re able to enjoy the flurry of the busy season.

    • It is amazing! We are all nodding to each other on the street, saying things like, “Isn’t it hot?!” and “Isn’t it busy?!” as if we never expected it. Same with winter…only the adverbs change. It seems to take me a bit longer each year to get in tune with the pace, but I’m getting there.
      Hope you’re doing well with your summer rounds as well, Sara. Thanks for the good thoughts!

    • Beaver Island is ten miles out in northern Lake Michigan from the closest shore. Our nearest port is in Charlevoix, MI, 32 miles away, and we are a part of Charlevoix County. Pretty large for an island at approximately 12 miles long and seven miles wide. Because the ferry boat is a two hour ride, we don’t get the huge influx of day-trippers that some other islands do, but still…
      Yes, the pedometer usually just serves a self-congratulatory purpose for me, but every great now and then it actually spurs me on to get another walk in before the end of the day.
      Thanks for reading!

    • Yes, I can’t imagine living in a place without four seasons, though I suppose – if you do – you learn to notice more subtle changes. I also can’t imagine going at summer’s pace year ’round, though in some place there is no “slow down”. Winter’s pace year around would drive me crazy, too…but the contrast is so nice here where I have both. Thanks for reading!

  5. It is so challenging when the tempo of our lives pick up, especially after the long long winters up here in the Northlands. I think we need to be gentle with ourselves when we don’t meet our mind’s expectations–the Universe probably has a different plan, that’s all. I can’t imagine writing a blog and keeping up with all of the blog-reading after putting in so many miles at your job, Cindy! No exercise, you say? Sounds like LOTS of exercise!

    • It gets harder every year! I enjoy the change in tempo, but I do get behind, and am, yes, probably too hard on myself about it. I still expect to be able to pull out an eleventh hour miracle and get everything done by deadline. Truth is, I just don’t have the energy! Thanks for reading and for your always thoughtful comments, Kathy.

    • Oh, I’m so glad you found me! Yes, the seasons keep us aware of the natural world around us…and all that’s out of our control. Not to mention a change of scenery, change of pace. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

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