When I stood at the foot of the mammoth and the ancient rocks, I immediately remembered the way up, the way up.
There were the smooth, black and red rocks that were warmed by the morning sun and that felt good under my feet. Their surfaces were partially covered, sprinkled with rust-colored white pine needles.
Then there was this little jog to the left and then to the right again as I pushed my toes between a rugged crevice to get a foothold. Gnarled roots hanging over the rock walls gave me a chance to raise my hand.
Yes, I remembered the way up.
What I must have forgotten was the majesty of the place when I reached the summit.
Up here, the surface of the rocks is covered with more pine needles and spectacularly intricate mosses and lichens that have a beautiful array of shades and hues.
There was everything from light grass green and powdery pinks to mushroom browns and grays. The air was clean and fresh.
When I saw the view as I climb the rocky ridge, my heart floated and my head felt light too – as if I was possessed by a ghost, or more precisely, reclaimed by something so much bigger than me.
This was the place I have called “The Wishing Place”.
I used to travel here almost every day to feel the wind, gaze over the blue and green of the shimmering lake and the rugged shore, with the sky clear above me as far as I could see.
I would think, argue, reflect and dream here.
But somehow I’ve somehow got lost here in the last few months.
I think I got bogged down in the dark like an Eskimo who lives in the land of the midnight sun.
Somewhere inside, wishing became something I wasn’t really comfortable with. It seemed childish and fruitless. In retrospect, I realize: I wasn’t aware of that at the time.
But as the weeks and months went by, I began to feel something different deep down inside me, something unsettling. I went numb.
Even in nature’s great forest cathedral halls, I struggled to connect as I was used to. I lost a connection. It wasn’t electric like it used to be, but felt every stimulus in the area.
To be honest, I only realized how much I had lost or left behind until I climbed up here this morning. That rush that hit me when I saw the view was like being overwhelmed by some kind of powerful scent.
I felt my legs weaken and wondered if I could fall to my knees.
I am sitting here now and realize how much I must have missed and no longer regularly communicate with nature from my special place here between the rocky cliffs, where I can see and hear the loons on the lake.
I have the feeling that everything here lives and speaks to me. The trees certainly remember me. The white pines protect me with their soft branches, just a few meters above my head while I sit here on the ledge.
Sounds travel so clearly across the water. The putt-putt-putt sound of a fishing boat reaches me from across the open bay at about the same time as the voices of its anglers.
I find it inspiring that so much has changed with the world, but that so much here seems just as beautiful, just as inviting, just as redeeming. I feel like waking up from a long, troubled sleep.
When I first arrived, a chattering squirrel and some squeaking nuthatch came up to greet me. Since then, they have returned to what they did, leaving me here to get intoxicated with the rest of this living world around me.
The winds are wonderful today. They’re fresh but just right warm. They drove the water of the lake into small waves and whirlpools. A moment or two ago I could hear the water splash against the base of these mighty rocks.
The wind has now turned and the noise has stopped. There isn’t a single cloud in the sky, but the moon shows almost half its face.
I met a curious visitor here. This is the second time this week I’ve seen it, which makes it twice as weird. I want to know what his presence means, but I can’t find out.
American Indians interpreted sightings in nature as messages or harbingers of future things – such as how the sight of an owl predicts death.
The creature I saw in my garden earlier this week, and clearly visible here just a few moments ago, was a stove bird.
In all of my days, I have known oven birds best by their loud “Teacher-teacher-teacherâCalls from the depths of the deciduous forests.
They are shy birds, a kind of grass warbler with a speckled breast and an orange crown, that build nests on the ground that are reminiscent of stoves. Her back is olive and brown.
I’ve seen them through my binoculars only a few times, and those views were mostly quick and fleeting. These are birds that are heard much more often than seen.
To see two so close and so clearly in such a short time strikes me as strange and meaningful. I think it’s a good sign, but what I can’t say.
Perhaps it is a spirit of possibility, renewal, hope and faith?
Perhaps in that regard a spirit of wish?
I know that much – if I hadn’t made up my mind to come here this morning, I wouldn’t have been here to see it.
The coming together of events, time, people and things is one of the secrets of life that I would like to have a better grip on. I would love to pull back the dial and see how it all works. I don’t want to tinker. I just want to know.
Perhaps one day quantum mechanics will allow me to be in two or more places at the same time. Theoretically, this would also apply to the Ofenvogel.
The soil of this little piece of heaven here is home to oak seedlings, along with ferns and berryless blueberry bushes. The pines along this ridge are large, ragged guardians that have withstood heavy storms year-round for many decades.
Several of its strong branches have broken off or remained intact, even though they broke off at crucial joints. In some cases, woodpeckers have taken their toll.
While considering the relative durability of these resilient creations, I am warned that this laptop is running out of battery.
So I reluctantly close this machine and make my way back to the place where I parked my jeep on the side of the road.
I am really impressed with the power of these moments that I spent here today. Despite the countless times this place has rejuvenated me in the past, I must have somehow doubted its power somewhere inside me.
Again, I can see in retrospect that I may have spent unnecessarily worrying or sad hours. I promise myself that I will keep a memory of that day that will be kept hidden for the worst of times.
I will remember this day for the good times too. This is a place where, like a young eagle learning to fly, I can hop and flutter here on the ledge and eagerly gaze at the sky.
I am grateful to all the forces that have come together in time and space to bring me to this place today. I haven’t pointed my boots in that direction in weeks.
I know now that I’ll be back soon.
Maybe even tomorrow.
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