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Photo by Peggy Paulson

On the shores of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior, two places I’ve spent a lot of time at recently, you get the feeling of just how small you are. The great lakes are freshwater seas that never end. Or maybe they do but you’ve never seen the other side so you can’t be sure.

I’ve decided I’m really starting to like it here, the place of my birth and upbringing. I always wanted to leave, and I tried, going to California at 19 and Ireland after my divorce.

Something brings you back home. We used to think this place was…

On Learning to Let Go and Live Life (Like My Favorite Cousin)

Photo by jonathan romain

I’m the follower, listening, occasionally interjecting, trying to keep up. My cousin JB is the wild one. The daredevil skater, business owner, risk-taker. Fun, personable, everybody’s favorite. I want to be more like him.

I’m Sal and he’s Dean, if you know what I mean.

We go on long hikes together and talk about punk rock bands, our divorces, our kids, apples, drugs, the future. Sometimes he smokes a joint and doesn’t talk to me for an hour or so. We both enjoy a three-drink buzz but he enjoys his weed. I never liked being dumbed down like that. …

In Response to a Genius

Photo by Jonnelle Yankovich

“He needed reforestation and he was well aware of it, and he hoped the soil would stand one more growth.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, Afternoon of an Author

At 3AM, the cat heard a mouse trying to steal a piece of his kibble from the food bowl and jumped off the bed, startling his human roommate awake.

The human, an aging (but not yet aged) male, waited to hear if the Tom and Jerry routine would be an extended play or if the mouse would escape, which it did instantly. The cat came back to the bedroom, dejected. …

Or, Love in the Time of Solitude

Photo by Hannah Donze

At the local grocery store, the customers are a strange colony of bugs trying to remain six feet from each other. Dancing and dodging, shuffling half-way down an aisle. The cashier is a martyr, no gloves, no mask, her face and hands accepting their fate.

I want to make conversation. I haven’t used my voice to speak to another human in six days, though I did talk to my cat a few times. The words don’t form in a coherent way and the cashier just smiles and hands me the bag with her left hand.

Engagement ring. …

Missing My Dad this Morning

Jonnelle Yankovich

I drove the little black S-10 down some ATV trails, lost in the Upper Peninsula wilderness. Dad was in the passenger seat, drunk since 12:00 PM. The map didn’t have these trails marked. It was spring and there were still a few piles of snow deep in the darkness.

Dad, the old Navy man, thought he could navigate us out by the sun. Hard to do that when the sky is a sheet of solid grey.

Earlier, Dad and I had seen a wolf for the first time. It seemed enormous, even from a distance. Husky and powerful, it stared…

On the Early Winter and Having Zero Expectations

Maddy Baker

The drive to work has been treacherous the last few days. Winter is here in Northern Michigan, having pushed autumn aside prematurely. The last of the yellow leaves are weighted in the first heavy snows of the year. I need to get the winter tires on the car as soon as possible.

It’s a difficult time for my psyche. I want to enjoy the beauty of the elements, the autumn colors and the winter white fighting each other for supremacy. The snow and cold will win, of course, for about five or six months. …

On Finishing a Roof in the Snow

Photo by the Author

The roads were covered in an icy slush on the way to work yesterday and I took that as a bad sign. We had to finish putting shingles on the roof of a new build in the country.

I dropped off my daughter at school and slipped and slid the 15 miles to the jobsite. The car sunk in the snowy mud in the unfinished driveway.

We got a lecture from the foreman the second we got our toolbelts on and had the tools rolled out.

And that was the second-best part of the day.

For the next seven hours…

Loss and Travel #001

Photo by the Author

One Autumn Sunday morning, sitting on a driftwood log and staring at Lake Superior, I had a thought, an epiphany, a satori. After a long weekend of meditation and hiking and drinking alone, my mind finally came up with a clear vision of what I’d been fighting to straighten out. I realized that for the seven years since my divorce and especially since the death of my parents four years prior, I’d been in sort of a fog. In that year alone, I had run fewer miles and ingested more bad food and alcohol than in any year since the…

Pollux Riley

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