I didn’t visit Beaver Island last year, the first time in fourteen years that I hadn’t been there for at least the month of July, so this trip was a special treat. My house, which I sold two years ago, i found had been razed and replaced by a huge two-storey job with several livingrooms and as many bathrooms.
My friends said they cried when my house came down–we had made so many memories there. I’d held numerous writing workshops, parties, and a meditation workshop there. I’d put up friends, Buddhists monks, and a medicine woman–Keewaydinoquay– before I turned my guest room into a bookstore, and after that a gallery called Beaver Island Arts. I’d learned to paint there, sold my art and books for years, met many interesting people.
But now, although my place is gone, the island with its many natural wonders is still there. Even on foot I was able to reach my favorite beaches, woodlands, wetlands, sweet grass patches, and sunset views. The last day I was offered a car, so I got to spend a perfect summer afternoon on Donegal Bay, my favorite swimming beach in the world.
And I hung out at the Beaver Island Lodge, where the owners, Ray and Nina Cole, always let me sit and paint either out on the lawn or at one of their lovely patio tables overlooking Lake Michigan and Garden Island. Several of my paintings hang inside their lovely dining room and my Lake Effects posters, both beautifully framed, welcome visitors at the front desk.
While I painted the lake, one of my favorite views, yet again (I have done it often at different times of day), a flock of wild turkeys crossed the lawn and then reappeared an hour later on the beach. I’d never seen turkeys on a beach before, and earlier that morning I witnessed another Beaver Island first for me –a pileated woodpecker.
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