Storm Approaches


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An unofficial source of Eagle Harbor, Michigan news, views and information.

Winter Storm Approaches

The Week's Weather Journal.

"...when we don't live with birds or weather or waves we lose the opportunity to think hard about ourselves, to discover from nature important facts about human nature."
(excerpted from Nancy Lord's, Fishcamp)

The Week Of May 18th


I thought the highlight of this cool but mostly sunny day would be the hike to Delaware to visit our old friend of this past winter, the infamous "measuring stick". It was there, of course, looking rather naked without its usual four feet or so of snow clothing. Its partner, the "measuring box" was perched high and equally snow dry in a thicket of brush branches about to explode with green. The neighbors, a collection of crumbling remains of once handsome miners' homes and mine buildings, looked especially pathetic without the cover of summer growth. A few more have collapsed, finally giving way to a hundred years of neglect and the burden of winter snow. The home of the 1970s "Buckeye Boys" is gasping its last breath and will be in its foundation grave by mid-summer. No, this sweet little venture to Delaware was completely overshadowed by what awaited me back at my Harbor was on fire! A chimney fire, with all its roaring and camp rattling fury. A couple of always at the ready "fire sticks" and anything I could find to block the air sucking fireplace opening settled it down a bit as I called for the fire volunteers. They arrived promptly and after about an hour of competent work, the fire was out. A wild, frantic time for me. Abby, the wonder dog, usually bounding about when "visitors" arrive, was totally spooked and huddled in fear in a far corner of the house. A close call! I don't need many more "close calls" in my life right now.


The warmth and cover of an intact camp seemed especially comforting on this cool,rainy day...even in the absence of my usual fireplace fire. Cranked up the propane heater and opened up the place to allow the remaining smoke to clear. Still waiting for the cool damp weather pattern of the past several weeks to break so that I can get my sailboat readied and launched for what I hope will be another full and glorious summer of sailing the far corners of the big lake. The lake is quite cool, offshore weather buoys are reporting water temperatures of 34 to 35 degrees and air temperatures rarely above 40. There will be lots of fog as warm moist air from land begins spill out over the cold lake. My radar will get a workout.


Well, there are no bugs! That's about the best that can be said for this continuing cool and damp weather. Things are beginning to look a little brighter in the afternoon so perhaps tomorrow will be the day to head for the boat. The lake level seems to be up about two or three inches in the last few weeks. We seem to be on our way to the predicted record late summer, early fall levels. The fall storms will be spectacular, but unfortunately threatening to camps and docks exposed to surges. I spend most of the day reading Nancy Lord's, "Fishcamp", a book recommmended by Patricia Van Pelt (and available from Patricia and Peter's bookshop). I've taken the liberty to use a quote from the book as the sub-title of The Harbor Web Weather Journal page. It speaks volumes about why I am so nourished by my life in this remote place!


At last, a warm spring day! I'm off to Pequaming to begin to prepare Peregrine for the sailing season. I work alone at the Keweenaw Bay site of the old Ford Motor Company plant for making the wood panel bodies for the classic "woodies" station wagons of several decades ago. Nothing there now except the remains of an old power plant, a few Ford company homes, an old school, and the last vestiges of the shipping dock. The warm sun on my back and face, the sight and smell of open water, and the joy of working on one's boat generates the rapture that only those who love the big lake and the thrill of sailing can understand. I forget that I'm only six weeks into recovery from a major heart attack. Sanding the bottom of a 30 foot boat up on a cradle is the last thing someone recovering from a heart attack should be doing. I dismiss the building soreness in my body, convinced that it's just the result of recent lack of activity, and rationalizing that with my recent heart "fix" everything was OK. Almost dead wrong! I have a second major heart attack in six weeks and barely make it to the L'Anse Hospital about eight miles distant. They load me with pain killer and blood thinner and immediately ship me to Marquette. The circumflex artery is once again completely closed. A day of such promise and momentary joy, ends in near disaster.


Extraordinarily skilled medical intervention, the love and support of my rapidly gathering family, and good luck and the good Lord pull me through. Unfortunately, there is now even more damage. Healing will be slow, perhaps requiring more patience and good sense than I am capable of delivering.


In hospital. Loaded with morphine and other drugs with names and purposes I can not comprehend, I drift in a semi-conscious world of confusion and despair. A grey featureless sky outside my window reflects my mood.


In hospital. One of my "Angles of Mercy" asks if I am the George of the "Eagle Harbor Web". She is Colleen Carlton, Fritz and Dorothy's daughter. We share stories of the Keweenaw, our families, our lives, our hopes. Wonderful medicine! The sky begins to clear.

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