An unofficial source of Eagle Harbor, Michigan news, views and information.
Winter Storm Approaches
The Week's Weather Journal.
The Week Of May 11th
It's Tuesday and I'm attempting to update the Weather Journal. For the heck of me I cannot recollect Sunday's weather or the thoughts it inspired. Seems to me there might have been some morning showers to please the new flowers and my Abby damaged lawn, but evidently the weather was in a spat of doldrums...as was I. It was an uncomfortable day as my body struggled to regain its peace with a still weakened heart, and my psyche labored under the frustration of a slow recovery from the April heart attack. A day best forgotten!
Winter makes one more and hopefully last attempt to divert our attention from the increasing signs of spring. The cities "up the hill" are rudely surprised by three or four inches of wet slushy snow (Ironwood got about nine inches!), but except for a few intermittent flurries, the Harbor "banana belt" was just wet and cold. My flag pole, already swayed slightly northward by last summer's blasting winds off the warm hills, gets straightened a bit by strong winds off the lake. Big waves racing across the lake from a still ice crested Canadian shore, smash furiously against the Harbor entry rocks and the rock ramparts in front of the still vacant homes along M-26. I watch...mesmerized by the awesome power and rhythm of the waves. It's said that the three things men most like to watch are moving water, the flame of campfires, and beautiful women. Makes sense to me!
Still cold and chilly, but dry. The fireplace fire seems especially comforting today. Maybe it's the attraction of the flame. I detect some evidence of cabin fever after a couple of days avoiding the last vestigaes of winter (that's why there has been so much Harbor Web updating the last few days), so Abby and I sally forth to Copper Falls along the Eliza trail. No sounds... the brooks and creeks seem to have lost their sense of spring urgency, the birds must be muted by the shivering cold, and trees without a wind to provoke their limbs are just sticks of silent wood. Abby delights in wallowing in dirty puddles, but protests mightily when upon return she gets doused clean in a cold stream of hose water. Now we are back by the warm fire, Abby hogging the hearth.
Tramped about Central for awhile today. Snow flurries kept the bugs down. Waded through calf deep snow melt water flooding the trail up near Copper Falls Lake. Some pussy willows were in bud, obviously fooled by the brief spasm of spring a week or so ago and looking pretty humbled as they bowed under the weight of the unexpected snow. As you poke around the remains of once proud mining structures, easily accessible in the still dormant woodland, one thinks of the people who inhabited this wilderness location and worked the dark, dangerous shafts. Now, 100 years later, what remains of their lifetime of hard labor? Perhaps some copper in the wiring of old homes and the thousands of miles of telephone line stretched across our country (carrying the Harbor Web to you). Perhaps the rich legends of their lives and times...the source of stories and ballads that still reverberate in our time. (Heard the Cornish ballad, "A Sad Day At Central Mine", on the radio just last week.) Perhaps the wealthy descendants of the Bostonian "captains of industry" who bankrolled and managed the Keweenaw copper boom. Perhaps only the hundreds of unmarked and seemingly forgotten ground depressions so evident in local cemeteries in early spring, including scores in our own Pine Grove. Perhaps.
The waves continue to roll in from the north. It's clearing but seasonably cool, actually cold. 30s to low 40s. I watch a winter depleted wood pile shrink even further, wondering if my weakened heart will deny the joy of firewood harvesting. A chance encounter with the man responsible for Indiana University's weather and air monitoring station at the Harbor marina produces some fascinating information about what's going on over there and some of their research findings. (Did you know that our "purest air on earth", according to local signage, contains pesticides blown up from the cotton fields of the Mississippi delta!) I'll do a piece about all this for the Harbor Web. I also now have a link to the weather recorders at the site and will be able to report Eagle Harbor weather, which, as you know, can be quite different than the weather reported "up the hill".
Some light snow "up the hill" today, they say an inch or two, but down here just some cool light rain. Still some patches of shoreline ice and a few remnants of winter's deep snowpack remain in sun shielded forest enclaves. The wind has slackened and shifted to the south, but cool 30s and 40s remain with us. It's amazing how quickly our days have lengthened. Dawn light appears about 5:30 am, and the northwestern sky doesn't yield to the night until after 10 pm. With the wind barely stirring and the lake settled down, the silence of wilderness prevails once again. I do hear the staccato of pileated woodpeckers boring the conifers for food. These spectacular crow-sized birds with flaming-red crests make an awful racket as they peck out oblong holes large enough to put one's fist through.
The blasts of horns from fog bound lakers heralded the advent of a wonderful "lake effect" spring day. The sun is bright, yet wisps of fog creep in and out of the harbor and the chill of 35 degree lake water radiates through the near shore environs. Fisherman huddle on the sun warmed concrete of the marina dock tending silent lines that seem to attract only the interest of seagulls. Harbor gardeners gently coax new growth in the shelter and warmth of planting beds along southfacing building walls. The growing populace of the village, augumented by weekend visitors from the copper cities, is out and about...marveling at the day and the absence of bugs, yet lamenting the fickleness of a Keweenaw spring, the lousy fishing, and the poor state of roadways. The town beach, protected from the cool westerly wind by the higher road at its back, is a place to pause, loosen one's coat, play "get the stick" with a happy and energetic dog, and relish the sense of personal renewal that such a fine day affords.