Second of June, Beaver Island, Michigan

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The weather is doing strange and unpredictable things this Spring.

More than usual, I think.

After several cool days, I stepped outside one morning last week to the kind of heat and high humidity – already at 9 A.M. – that we wouldn’t normally see for a month yet. The scent of lilacs wafted along in that heavy air from trees and bushes that were miles away.

I felt blessed that day, walking in that warm, perfumed breeze.

The next day was warm and sunny, but the winds increased.

Rains came in next, and the temperatures dropped.

Today feels downright cold!

Business is following the weather, in its unpredictability.

It doesn’t seem to matter if folks are traveling one thousand miles to spend their summer vacation here…when the cold weather lingers, they seem to know it. If the weather is bad, the visitors don’t come. In addition, severe Winter storms caused school districts to take “snow days” that they have to make up at the end of the year. Many schools are still in session.

There are other factors.

Seasonal shops and restaurants are just now opening up for the Summer here on Beaver Island. Suddenly, there are more choices of where to go for lunch, dinner or “happy hour.”

A busy day leaves me feeling hopeful and encouraged…and a little bit scared. This long, spare Winter has been hard on my budget; I’m anxious to get some money coming in again. I look forward to the busy-ness of Summer. Still, it has been close to fourteen years since I last worked as a server in this harbor-front establishment. My bosses were kind enough to accommodate my requests for location and hours; I would hate to let them down. Every busy day that I manage to keep the pace, I congratulate myself a little bit…but I know it’s going to pick up. I haven’t really been tested, yet.

A slow day…or two or three of them in a row…makes me even more afraid. Will this be the year, finally, when the poor economy or the price of travel will keep people away? Will we get enough visitors this Summer? In this tourist-based industry, these are annual, underlying fears. Most of our income for the whole year is dependent on a few short weeks when the sun is bright and the sands are warm. June is always a slow month, I remind myself; things will get better.

My own fortunes…and my moods…are as up and down as the weather.

An income tax refund allowed me to catch up a little bit, and pay one large bill that has been hanging over my head all Winter.

My little dog ran into the road, was bowled over and badly bruised by a car. That demanded an emergency visit to the veterinarian (a godsend at times like that!) for a thorough examination, x-rays,  a shot of cortisone and pain medicine for the following seven days.

I sold two paintings through Livingstone Studio – the summer gallery that carries my work here – in the first week that they were open.

I broke a tooth, eating rice cereal one morning. The order of that day was two hours in the dental chair, a temporary crown and a well-used credit card.

I hired a man to take out three trees that have been encroaching on and shading my garden. That’s a bigger deal than what it sounds like. It is amazingly hard to find someone on this island to tackle small jobs. Everyone is too busy; many don’t want to mess with things like that. The few times that we’ve had someone willing to work exclusively at odd jobs and repairs, they’ve had more work than they can handle. I was thrilled to find someone to do the job for a fair price, in a timely fashion. I’m still pleased about it, even though…

I came home last night to find that the last tree had fallen in the wrong direction, poking a hole in the roof of my old shed and taking down a good portion of the back of my garden fence.

That’s the way it’s been…highs and lows.

My dog survived…things broken are repairable…so in the end, more good than bad.

As the weather warms up, the tourists will come.

It’s cold today, but Summer is on the way.

That’s how it is, for me, here on Beaver Island, this second day of June.

19 responses »

  1. Oh dear! You sound a little down-trodden, and justifiably so. You know what they say, at least you have your health. Piffle. When things aren’t going the way you would like it just stinks. I’m glad your dog is okay and that you sold a couple of paintings. Great news! As for the other stuff? Well, as I like to think in times like this, the universe is unfolding as it should. Hang in there!

    • Oh, sure, I’ll be fine. I’m not as down-trodden as I make it sound, I’m sure. This has become such a hectic time of year, with work picking up, trying to finish and frame artwork for the galleries, spring cleaning, getting the garden ready and planted…I can hardly enjoy what has always been my favorite season. Every year I think I need to change something to improve that, but then it’s here again, the same. I think the message to me is to slow down.
      Thanks for reading, Sara, and for your comments!

  2. I really liked this post. I think your writing keep getting better and better. I enjoy reading about Beaver Island. It seems a fine place to live but has such limited job sources. Such as shame. I am so glad that you dog is going to be okay. I know that accidents such as that can happen in a heart beat and I am always afraid that one day I’l forget to close the gate to my property. Lately I have not let them leave the immediate back yard and keep them within sight. My big dogs no longer have free reign of the one acre even though fenced. Years ago my favorite dog was killed on the main street and I have yet to get over her death.That was 49 years ago.

    ~yvonne~

    ________________________________

    • Oh, it was awful, and I felt to blame for not being more cautious. She’s still having some issues that I have to discuss with the vet today.
      Yes, Beaver Island is a wonderful place. I have always loved it here…but it can be a hard place to make a living. It is a nurturing, safe place to live as a single woman, too…but prospects of meeting a partner here are slim to none. It’s all a trade-off, I guess.
      Thanks for reading, Yvonne, and for your comments!

  3. You live on a beautiful island!
    In Colorado we’re seeing the same extreme weather swings, too. But after last year’s devastating fires, we’re grateful that this year we’re not having floods, though we need rain. Unless we’re hiking in the mountains or at a protected area, our dog Maggie can’t run freely. She’s not happy with it, but it keeps her safer. Or at least safer.
    Lovely post.

    • Keeping them safe is most important, always, and I’m being much more careful now. She has never run toward the road like that before – usually stays in the back, and not far from the door – and I don’t know what caused it that day. It was sure scary!
      Yes, this is a beautiful place. As I understand it, Colorado has its merits, too! Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

  4. Again, Cindy, I so enjoy your writing and your art. Yes, Summer is upon us, although the weather likes to make us think otherwise. As you read this quick note, remember the words of our good friend Bill Scott, “Ninety more days to go.” Good luck and warm wishes for a prosperous season on Beaver Island.

  5. I think things will pick up. Even if we are paying island prices for gas on the mainland right now, those of us who love our visits to the island will adjust our budgets to bring us back.
    You should have my brother and I for your tree problems we surely could have done just as well at avoiding damage to anything.

    • I had a good recommendation for this guy, and he needed the work…and yet…yes, I’m sure you and Gary could have done a fine job, in perhaps a more timely fashion, too!
      I’m glad to hear the price of travel has not scared you away, Bob! I always look forward to your visits! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  6. The weather cant make up its mind even here in England.Government cuts,cuts,cuts everywhere.No one knows how tourism will survive at all.Keep your chin up Cindy!

    • Oh, thanks, Lubega, I try. I go through this worry every June, it seems. This year, when my budget is so tight and I’m depending on tips as part of my income, I’m spending even more time fretting. As if that helps one bit! Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

  7. I think the word that defines EVERYTHING these past few years is “unpredictable!” Whether thinking of the weather, the economy, or day to day life, everything seems so dang unpredictable!
    I wonder if I’m just noticing it now more due to middle age or if things really ARE so off kilter!
    Either way, you’ve aptly describe exactly how I’ve been thinking!

    • I don’t know…I’ve been feeling like a terrible complainer, but certainly in my life things seem to be centered on loss. Part of that is probably my age, and part is that you see whatever you focus on (when you have a red car you notice all the red cars), but I agree with you that it certainly seems like things are off kilter! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one feeling that way!

  8. Cindy, I’m hoping you’ll have the strength and fortitude to keep up during the busy times. It must be tough to weather the ups and downs. It seems like just when we break even, something else breaks and needs repair, too. May you, too, be a survivor. May you bloom this summer and feel the blessings of warmth on your little island.

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