Every place is unique. Every little town or big city has things that set them apart, while the parts that seem familiar give a sense of something known. Every place is a little different, and a little the same. Almost.
Beaver Island, at least for me, was a complete stranger.
As a traveler from the desert we met for the first time, and I struggled to place the face. Sure, I have been to Michigan, but it wasn’t like that. I have been to Wisconsin, but that didn’t feel right, either.
When the sun was shining and the light breeze pushed ripples around the shallow clear water of the flats if I squinted it might have been a beautiful early spring day in Florida, but no, that wasn’t it.
When the fog hung thick around the lighthouse in the still morning air it reminded me of… nothing, actually. (Fog is pretty foreign to me. Also lighthouses)
And when I ran my fingers through the sand and heard the call of the gulls, San Diego came to mind, but again, everything was wrong.
And everything was right.
I am intrigued by Beaver Island. I suppose you could say I have a crush on the place.
I want to be around. I want the island to like me, to invite me to parties, to introduce me to friends and smile when I tell stupid jokes. I want to know the roads, and drive them to places I feel welcomed where people will smile and say “Hey, man good to see you! Pull up a chair!”
I suppose for now I will have to settle for a long distance relationship.
As far as hitting it off with the locals, I suppose we did alright, considering that we were only there two days and had already warmed chairs at every bar and even got invited to a house party for a local girls high school graduation. (Which was a great party, if your wondering) And I would like to think that it had little to do with the fact that we were “media”, and more to do with how awesome we are. Either way, it didn’t hurt.
For today’s island tip
I will tell you to not forget to wave. If you are driving a car, or walking down the street, or standing in a window, or sitting on a porch, whatever you do for the love of all that is holy, wave. Wave at everyone. Always.
If you are sitting at the living room table and hear a car go by, wave.
If you are washing dishes and hear and engine approaching, wave.
If you are sleeping in your bed, dreaming of hungry carp, and in your dream you see someone behind the wheel of a vehicle, wave.
And try to mean it, when driving a car, especially. It’s easy, just keep your steering hand at “twelve” and throw up your fingers with a little smile, maybe give a head nod if you recognize the person. Not hard. In principle.
I had Kevin’s truck for an afternoon, and Dan was freaking out in the passenger seat thinking that we were going to get kicked off the island because I kept getting distracted by passing shiny objects and forgetting to give other drivers acknowledgement. I felt bad, but more so for the fact that I realized that I was wearing Kevin’s bright green jacket, and driving Kevin’s red truck. That evening I kept expecting to see a mob carrying the poor guy toward the ferry dock kicking and screaming, tied to a bag of rocks.
-Alex who is waving at you, right now.
On this day we thank:
Liam and Marylyn at the Stoney Acre Grill for the great drinks and the better company.
Bozeman Reel Co.