Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stuart White responds to "Cross Over The Line"

I have only listened to the Jay Steilstra song "Crossed Over The Line" and you can understand how much I love the main sentiment in those lyrics. He echoes the feelings each of us would get, as early as the Fifties, when we drove up north. And he still seems moved, as an adult, by the mind-meld from Washtenaw to Lake County.

The I-75 corridor upta Midland is numbing and then just at Clare, "Gateway To The North- Stop at The Doherty", as US-10 becomes a challenging two-lane and Reed City/Evart are your next goals, the trees, no matter what the season, become larger and higher. I am certain it is additionally due to the rolling terrain. The farms and the country houses seem hidden by the trees. Jay is right about the sandy soil only being good for growin' wood. But those trees dominate your attention.

Chase, Nirvana are the last two settlements before downtown Baldwin. Chase, Nirvana.... Coincidence? Idlewild is off US-10 just aways before Baldwin. It was always easy to buy underage liquor there and never did I imagine the sweet greatness of the place in an earlier era. Who would guess that Lake County is the poorest, per capita, county in Michigan? I think even the privately owned Youth Prison went outa business. But, still these sweeping
roads among canyons of trees, fully knowing that Ed Sedlecki's Bait Shop and the PM were very close.

There was almost a definable line just past Clare when you knew that things should be re-examined, when you knew that this new world came with lots of questions, and when you knew that you were a visitor in a strange land.

I still cross the line many, many times each year and I always notice the difference...

Rich B. Responds to Stu's comments on "Cross Over The LIne."

Well said.

I did not get to know that line until the 80's when I discovered northern Michigan. That "line," the Arizona desert, the forests and gorges of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Tennessee and Kentucky are places I get that feeling of "I'm home;" those are places to go where there are no concerns about bills to be paid, or a lawn that needs mowing, or stacks of papers that need grading. The stunning vistas as you crest a hill on I-75 just north of Grayling, the elk near Vanderbilt, then Indian River, Burt Lake and the "Y" camp, and on across "The Bridge" into the strange world of the UP draw me every year. Friends have introduced us to the world of Drummond Island in the UP. Another place where the nights are crisp, cold, and clear with a sky filled with stars and the woods are, as Mr. Frost said, dark and lovely and deep. I was walking the Seney Trail when I came upon a pile of warm, steaming bear scat, heard rustling in the berry patch by the Fox River and decided it was time to turn around. I was hiking the North Country Trial near Brevort Lake when I surprised a huge buck, and he,me, and he gave a shrill whistle I had never before heard a deer make. Andy's Seney Bar, snowshoeing through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and seeing a owl watching me with unblinking eyes, 4 wheeling the snow covered road hugging the shore line of Lake Superior between Grand Maris and Munising , spending a week with my son in Jim Lagoe's cabin just outside Seney; all memories that came from crossing over the line.