Inspired by nature itself as well as the book, Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie—who, by the way, makes sketching nature look deceivingly easy—I started a nature journal of my own the summer of 2007 during our family’s first lakeside retreat to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
For a full week, we stayed in a little cabin we rented on South Manistique Lake (near Curtis). This summer marks our sixth year renting the same cabin. Only now, we stay for two heavenly weeks.
More comfortable writing than drawing, I put pen to paper on the journal’s first blank page, which is always the most daunting, by copying a legend that hangs on the wall of Chet & Pat’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour in Curtis.
Yooper Creation Story
In da beginning, dere was nuttin.
Den, on da first day, God created da U.P.
On da second day, He created da partridge, da deer, da bear, da fish and da ducks.
On da third day He said, “Let dere be Yoopers to roam da U.P.”
On da fourth day He created da udder world down below and on da fifth day He said, “Let dere be Trolls to live in da world down below.”
On da sixth day He created “Da Bridge” so da Trolls would have a way to get to heaven.
God said it was good and on da seventh day, He went huntin’!
We didn’t go hunting once we were in the U.P., but we nearly got shot trying to get there. When we reached the toll booth on the Yooper side of the Mackinac Bridge, my husband asked the gentleman in the toll booth, “Do people ever get all the way over here and then have no money to pay?” Toll booth man said, “Oh, yah.” My husband asked, “What do you do?” Toll booth man said, deadpan, “We just pull the trigger.”
Safe and sound in our cabin on the lake in the U.P., the first thing I drew was what I thought was a female Black Duck but was probably a Mallard, as she watched over her four ducklings on the lawn between (our) Cabin #5 and South Manistique Lake.
Although my drawing is nothing to write home about, God said it was good.