Winter Bleached Marram Grass2 Comments
As a young boy my family once vacationed at a cottage on Silver Lake in Oceana County. For a kid used to the suburban expanse of Chicago, it was heaven on earth: Fishing, and dune rides, and hiking, and swimming, and boating, and biking, and ice cream, and blueberries, and cherries, and comic books, and puzzles, and games.
But most especially what I remember is the view. Across the deep blue lake was a vast expanse of open dune, as though the Sahara desert had decided to move to Michigan. It was magical.
As an adult I’ve returned to the area many times trying to capture something of the essence of those idyllic days. To be honest, I really haven’t been that successful. But I’m more bemused than frustrated by my failures. It is as though the landscape is toying and teasing and beckoning me to always want to come back for more.
The open dunes have an emptiness to them—even more so in mid-winter when I decided to explore them this time. It was a sunny and mild day for February, and I enjoyed exploring the pure forms sculpted by wind in the sand and snow.
As I approached the shore of Lake Michigan after a long hike through the winter landscape, I was delighted to come across this echo of summer days. Stalks of marram grass, bleached by the winter sun, graced the crest of a dune on the edge of the ice-free lake.