Monthly Archives: October 2017

In the Middle of the Night…



A month ago. when I woke up in the night, it was with a sense of dread, and near panic. Forefront in my mind were the one hundred things I had yet to do, at least half of which I was behind on. Deadlines loomed. Mistakes and missteps haunted my thoughts. There were always money worries. My household bills were behind because I was using my personal income to make ends meet for my  business.

I was often driven out of bed by obligations to be met, a budget to review, or jobs to be done that my schedule didn’t allow for. I would sit at the computer, then, trying to write an article covering an event that I had been unable to attend because I was at my other job. Or, I would once again cover the dining room table with paperwork, trying to figure out what I was missing, that there was no profit here. There were many nights of too little sleep.

Days were spent juggling my job at the hardware, a couple other side jobs, the duties and obligations associated with my business, and everything else necessary to keeping a life running smoothly. That was my life for the two-and-a-half years that I held the position of owner and editor of the Beaver Beacon news-magazine.

When I took on that job, it seemed like a good idea. I have many long years of study, and college degrees I have barely used. I’ve spent most of my adult life working at menial labor in customer-service positions. That’s something I am really good at; that is grtifying all by itself. It has also allowed me to live on Beaver Island, which I love. It has provided me with enough income to support myself, and the freedom to pursue my artistic calling. Still, at times, I’ve felt that I’ve sold myself short. So, over the years, I’ve occasionally applied for or taken on other positions that seemed to better suit my qualifications. The Beacon was one of them.

Almost immediately, I realized it was a mistake. I was overwhelmed, incapable of giving it the time it deserved, unable to fix the things that were going wrong.  I spent about two years trying to find someone willing and able to take over. I contemplated other options, none of which were good…for me, personally, or for the long-standing place the Beaver Beacon has held in this community.

When everything seemed hopeless, someone came forward. After several discussions, many questions answered, and papers signed, Steve and Elaine West, who have successfully managed to put out the Northern Islander for more than a decade here on Beaver Island, have added the Beacon to their repertoire. They have good ideas and exciting changes planned. I can’t wait to see how the whole thing evolves under their guidance. I’m looking forward to contributing an article now and then…when it’s not a crucial deadline that keeps me from sleep!

Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I smile. Sometimes I get up to let a dog outside. I may, if the weather is mild, step out onto the porch to look up at the stars, or to see what stage the moon is at in the night sky. Other times I just lay there in the darkness, appreciating the calm, and the warmth of the little dog sleeping at my feet. Sometimes I stretch, roll over, and go back to sleep. This is the way I want to always spend my nights!


First of October, Fox Lake Road



The morning started out cool today, as it has for the last two mornings. Temperatures have been reported in the thirties. My house has felt down-right cold to wake up in; I have not yet gotten the thermostat fixed on the heater, so it doesn’t automatically come on when the temperature drops. At least parts of my garden have been touched by frost.

It warmed up, though, and was a beautiful day on Beaver Island today. Just about everyone mentioned it, when they came into the hardware store. “Yes, it sure seems to be,” I would answer, and looked forward to getting out of work to enjoy the sunshine. It was a busy day, so the time seemed to go by quickly, even with late customers. Before I knew it, I was out the door.

Home, I greeted the dogs, and invited them outside to walk the yard and garden with me. The Autumn Joy sedum are turning rosy and preparing to put on a wonderful show this fall. The cosmos – planted late – have just started blooming in between spent blossoms of brown-eyed Susans, and dried peony, poppy and day-lily stalks. Sunflowers are showing bright faces, though they’ve turned away from me this time of day. The marigolds are the brightest thing in the garden.

As I wander through, I pick every tomato that shows any promise of ripening, to finish on the kitchen counter. I do this every day, to get as much harvest as possible before cold temperatures bring the garden to an end this year. A few of the plants – some tomatoes and most of the squash – already have the dry, blackened leaves that indicate frost. Others seem untouched. The bush beans appear dead, but the pole beans are bright green and even have new blossoms!

I pull one hundred dried day-lily stalks, for an art project I have planned. I then cut the dried and dead brown-eyed Susans. I could still find live ones, blooming gold and brown on the edges of the yard and in the field. I like the looks of the spent blooms, though; I arrange them – without water – in a clear vase to make an autumn bouquet.

Next, we load up and head for Fox Lake, where the dogs enjoy a good romp, and I shiver in the cold air. Hannigan Road next, to see if the colors are changing there (barely) and then to the family woodlot to check the blackberries. They’re almost finished for the year. I found just enough to have a taste: one handful, a bit tart, but a nice reminder of the season, coming to an end.

I think the dogs got into an altercation over dinner last evening, while I was out having a meal at the farmhouse with my cousin, Keith. They’ve been sulking around, giving each other dirty looks since I got home last night. They did pull together this morning, to chase the wild turkeys out of the yard, before going back to their grudge. Over the adventure of a ride in the car with the windows down, and new smells at Fox Lake and in the woods, they seem to have forgotten their differences. All is well on the first of October, here on the Fox Lake Road.