Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Grand Traverse Scene magazine. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor centers, chambers of commerce, or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.
Everyone has a happy place to go to escape the hype of work life, illnesses, news, family responsibilities (via step parents?) Etc. Sometimes it’s a special, physical place where life is most meaningful, which in turn leads to mental happiness when we close our eyes and remember. Northern Michigan offers plenty of opportunities, something that brings us home as we watch visitors punish the area, leave, then milk those memories until next summer, when they return to repeat the madness once again. more.
As activity in this woodland wanes and tourists close the curtain on yet another summer of carpet bombing in northern Michigan, we heal our wounds, wondering what just happened in the past three months. We stroll the sidewalk, stretch, scratch our heads and admire the reflections of color among the maple trees by the side of the road without fear of being mowed down by a suburb full of Illinois rubber fudge. It’s the start of fall, and we know what’s coming: our places of happiness.
I tend to see mine more clearly through a set of sports glasses. While I fancy doing steelheading in the winter, turkey hunting in the spring, and trout fishing in the summer, I’m far from the rocky dude I think I’m like during these dramatic few months.
With hills awash in a rainbow of colors, the chance to visit these special haunts is what I’m looking for; sitting in a favorite swamp with my old lab, visiting a reliable deer stand, or watching my daughter shoot her first mallard.
It’s the icing on the cake knowing that at any time, these memories will trigger an appeasement and allow me to press the reset button before going through the mail.
And not just during the dregs of winter that get longer each year, but at a second-year Christmas concert of a nephew, a wedding in mid-October of a good buddy who doesn’t hunt. not, or another disappointing encounter with my financial advisor.
At such times, my eyes slip away into a distant gaze, a slight smile forms and sometimes even a tiny bit of drool escapes. Those around me know what happened: I went bye to my happy place for a while.
But happiness doesn’t always require holding a shotgun or a fly rod. Taking off my sports glasses lets me appreciate that a guy doing his 20 mile bike ride on our TART system on a cool fall morning is in his place, just like a young couple sipping coffee in comfort of a couple of kayaks, laughing as they overlook the oaks, bombard them with acorns.
A family on a tour of the fall colors, stopping here and there to taste the local wines, are also happy that I stalk a stealthy male.
The truth is, the key to happiness is finding those “places” in everything we do (root canal treatment involves nitrous oxide, that sort of thing).
We are in a better state of mind, equipped to take on the duties of spouse, parent and employee while giving thanks to a benevolent God for creating the circle of life we ââall love to nibble on.
It’s hard not to see it on a colorful morning sunrise, a rugged dune climb, or an autumn gale, where gray waters relentlessly pound and shape our shores.
It’s early September now, and all my sporting paraphernalia rests in the aisle in front of me. I tinker, sort, repair, replace, praying that the Good Bride does not see the checkbook for a few weeks.
The predictable summer heat interrupts the early migration of geese, but my compass points north. Three months of what I love awaits me, and although no trigger has been pulled, I’m savoring what’s to come.
I am in my Happy Place.