Monday, July 28, 2014

Images of Michigan

Michigan is a state that I had never visited in the past. When I travel via bus or train to Chicago, I don't go into Michigan. I go through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois... but no Michigan. If I were to travel via Canada, I would go into Michigan. But I digress. I know. Digression ought to be my middle name.

The cardinal of Illinois flies to Michigan and alights on the apple blossoms... images for our walk from Chicago to Battle Creek, Michigan.
So Michigan... what's to know about Michigan? Well, its state flower is the apple blossom. Hence the apple blossom in the painting that I made for the walk and which appeared in some of the signs that we carried. Its state bird is the robin, but, for the painting, I chose the cardinal because that was the state bird of Illinois, and we were traveling from Illinois to Michigan, and I wanted to combine images from both states. Here are some facts about Michigan. Its capital is Lansing. The state is known for the automobile industry, yet, oddly enough, a place in Michigan that I'd like to visit is Macinac Island, where motor vehicles are banned. Wow. Car free. How awesome is that? The entire island is a national historic landmark. Well, maybe one of these days, I'll go there because, for a walker, there is nothing cooler than a car-free community. Western Michigan is a fruit growing region and, in fact, is referred to as a "fruit belt." Many migrant workers come to work in Michigan. At the churches that hosted us (Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Benton Harbor and Immaculate Conception Church in Hartford), the bulletins were written in both Spanish and English. At the Immaculate Conception church, we spent some time having a conversation with the confirmation class. The students in that class ranged in age from thirteen to sixteen. At the North Berrien  Historical Society's museum in Coloma, we saw an exhibit titled "From Forest to Fruit Belt." For more information about the North Berrien Historical Society and its museum, take a look at its website.

Our journey through Michigan took us to some interesting places, which we enjoyed. We ate lunch at the lakeside, in Saint Joseph. I think that the most interesting place name that we visited was Paw Paw. This oddly named village is in the heart of Michigan's wine country so, if you are an aficionado of wine, Paw Paw is for you. It was a very appealing village and the unusual name just added to my fascination with it. And speaking of names and places, we saw the White Rabbit Bed and Breakfast, the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, a farmers market, various art galleries, and more.

I was startled to see people riding motorcycles without benefit of helmets. I was told that the state's helmet law allows for some riders to go without their helmets. They have to be over the age of 21 and carry a certain amount of medical insurance and have motorcycle training. But still... to me, it seems like a bad idea. I made up songs for Michigan's motorcyclists, depending on whether or not they were wearing helmets. They are sung to the tune of "We are singing in the light of God."

For the helmetless riders: Put a helmet on that precious head, put a helmet on that precious head. Put a helmet on that precious head, put a helmet on that precious head. Wear your helmet because we like you. Put a helmet on that precious head. Wear your helmet because we like you. Put a helmet on that precious head.

For the riders wearing helmets: You look handsome in your dashing helmet; it really makes you look debonair. You look handsome in your dashing helmet; it really makes you look debonair. You set fashion trends with that helmet. You should be in a magazine. You set fashion trends with that helmet. You should be in a magazine. (not a coffin)

Even in rural areas, it was apparent that Michigan was part of the rust belt. Everything was green and alive but so many of the buildings were decaying.

Julia gave Ruth and me a ride to our host family Tom and Mary's house. We took the scenic route and got a tour of the Galien River  Park (a county park). We walked down a path to a boardwalk and onto a small bridge, which swayed because it was loaded with a wedding party, busily photographing one another, mainly with cell phones.

The bridge overlooked the Galien River. We saw people in canoes and kayaks enjoying a day on the river.

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The board walk

Here is Ginger Bear II, enjoying some relaxing time


Farmers market in rural Michigan.

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!
Some building signs called out for a photograph...
Barbara calls for an end to drone warfare.
I got to borrow these colorful socks. They were soft and comfortable for my sore feet.
Our group, without me, because I was taking their picture.
Father Dan Scheid of Benton Harbor and his amazing shoes.
Father Dan Scheid and Senji.
Father Dan Scheid, Brian Terrell, a gentleman who I think works in St. Augustine's (I seem to have forgotten his name, unfortunately), and Frank Pauc.
Father Dan, Ceylon, and Senji
Immaculate Conception Church.
Also at Immaculate Conception Church

This is a lovely display of flowers in a garden in Michigan.






















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