Tag Archives: Upper Peninsula

Weekly Photo Challenge – No Comfort Zone – Duck Lake Fire

This is not yet another beautiful sunrise or sunset. It is a photo of a forest fire, in my “backyard” that burned almost 22,000 acres in just a few days. It traveled 12 miles in one night, May 24-25 – the night I took these.

The fire blew up in 40mph winds, woods dry tinder, 2am May 25th..

CR414 about 5 miles from the blowout…

When we stopped on the road for me to take this photograph, it was silent. Then a whippoorwill began to sing right beside me… I live in a world of miracles.

At the road block ~ only about a mile away according to the maps… The wind gusted and the fire flared, listening to fire crew on State Troopers walkie talkies…

Duck Lake Fire, 2:00 AM, May 25, 2012, at the roadblock.

Gust – flare- gust and flare lighting up the night sky – Duck Lake Fire

I have no idea what this weeks photo challenge is… Really!
Since the last post “Hands and Happiness”, life blew up – in the form of this forest fire, now known as the “Duck Lake Fire.” Talk about a “No Comfort Zone Challenge”…. and yet it was not a no comfort zone at all… a strange and wonderful calm through it all…
The fire came within 6 miles of my home in the woods, 250+ firefighters have been here working on it and it is now 55% contained. There are so many stories that have come out of this fire… kindness, new friends, reconnecting with friends, watching a community offer love, support, comfort to those who lost everything. The numbers are staggering… I am lucky – I am not one of the numbers. I am lucky… I have been an observer, witness, participant in so many acts of love, kindness, strength and appreciation this week. Yes, happiness, even…living on the edge. Once again learning the importance of knowing priorities… Loving, accepting what is, being grateful for each day, laughing and crying at the same time, comforting others, providing information, knowing that no matter what, I am always safe and choose happy. I am always in the right place at the right time… this time west of the fire.
There are a gazillion links online now… too many to sort through, but here is one that has a good story and comprehensive collection of links and images: ‘Firefighter ranks Duck Lake Fire as one of worst’~ “That Country was so Beautiful”
Another, for facts and Department of Natural Resources videos and images go to http://www.michigan.gov/dnr. Maps became essential this week, as well as weather, wind speeds, direction… and new DSL.
If you Google “Duck Lake Fire Updates” there are hundreds of photos, videos, stories. The fire has received national coverage, a state of emergency was declared Friday, May 25th, the media started noticing over the weekend. For those of us who live here, we noticed immediately. Evacuations began Thursday evening… and the community of Newberry, Luce County, went to work, taking care of one another.
I live in a wonderful place and for that I am happy, every day.

Namaste ~ StarBear
copyright 2012 Betsy Lewis

Sunshine, Sunsets, Awards and… Cell Towers?

Perry's Landing March 26, 2012

Sunset at Perry’s Landing. Again. This place always brings me back to where I belong. The other night, a friend called and said “Let’s go catch the sunset…” and off we went, hastily, to catch the end of the day’s light.
It was cloudy, dark and we caught the very last of the color. He waxed rhapsodic about the hues, the brilliance, the array of color and how we live in such a special place, filled with beauty, peace, and love. I did not take my camera and as usual, he scolded me soundly then gently said something like “I guess sometimes it’s okay to keep the memory and not share it with the world.” That’s why I did not take my camera. As much as I love sharing the beauty here with the world, there are times not to share. There are sacred moments, spent alone or with another that simply cannot be fully shared in words and pictures.

This photo was taken the next evening, after a day of sunshine, same place, same hour of the day, and yet in a totally different time frame. It is similar and not the same. The Lake was calmer, it was warmer with less wind and the light was more accommodating.

Each time I go to Perry’s Landing I wonder who Perry was.

I have been out of my comfort zone a lot lately, not blogging, spending more time off the computer, being in the world with people and then being quiet, at the beach, in the woods, not even taking many photographs.

Even during this time off, I have somehow made new online friends, received awards for which I am grateful and have yet to acknowledge.
My friend, Angi, A Kiss of Bliss nominated this blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Dr. Angi! I also was nominated for a Sunshine Award by Laurie at New Thought Families. Thank you Laurie Story!

Accepting these awards seems to require revealing 10 things ( or 7?) about yourself that my readers may not know.
That can be fun, so here goes:
1. My mouse is not working very well so posting, editing photos is very slow. Nominating other sites will have to wait for a new mouse. 🙂
2. On photography ~ I believe that developing a good eye is more important than having a top of the line camera.
3. My favorite color… if I have to choose – cobalt blue, or purple? Maybe orange? Red? Magenta? Green? hmmmm.. which green? White? Yellow? – I refuse to choose on this one.
4. My favorite number – 8 – lying on it’s side it represents infinity. After that 9 – infinity +1.
5. My name, Star Bear, was gifted to me by a Native American Medicine Woman. It is not the full name I was given, just a part.
6. I am a Leo, with a Libra rising…. always looking at both sides.
7. I know all of my personal animal totems, and communicate with them frequently.
8. I prefer to be outdoors, rather than in.
9. I prefer communicating in person, or by phone, over e-mail, so I can hear the tone in another’s voice.
10. I prefer to hear poetry read aloud.

And the bonus # 11 – I ask a lot of questions. This month’s local question is: Will AT&T be permitted to build a 400 foot tower on the Tahquamenon River? It is planned to be built adjacent to a 45,000 acre wilderness area and possibly in view of one of the most beautiful waterfalls, Tahquamenon Falls, second in size only to Niagara east of the Mississsipi, or will they bow to common sense and local consensus and find an alternate location? (Cell towers bring along with them blinking lights – 24/7/365) This place that I live sometimes chooses to act as if it is financially challenged, and Tahquamenon Falls brings 500,000 tourist visitors each year. A large part of the reason people visit here is to briefly escape – technology, urbanity, busy-ness, business.

And so it goes ~ progress in the wilderness or saving a few wild places ~ more questions, how to best serve? How to protect? How to be kind, compassionate, loving and take a stand, draw a line. So this is where I have been offline – researching, asking questions, writing letters, surveying friends, neighbors, my community.

How can my work as a writer and photographer make a difference? I am trying to imagine what Tahquamenon Falls will look like with a 400 foot tower in the background. Thoughts?

May your thoughts be peaceful, thoughtful and loving today.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Morning After Moon

Full moon rising
In a hazy sky
Golden orb gloradiates
Softly gilded lines

Moonlight edglings
Spread a fan of tiny backlit clouds
Doubling on the mirrorlake
Peacocks tail arrayed above and below.

Stillness, silence, peace, beauty
Ahh… Can life be better than this?
What more could one want?
Hearts desire filled…

Their call begins south
Then North Answered East… nearby
Whippoorwills sing
Call shout sing whip-poor-will

Louder closer
surrounded by answers of will…

then fireflies dance.

Surrounded by love
Touching God touching me touching life…
I thought of you…
Wished you here to share this moment…
and now we do.

Namaste ~ Star Bear
Copyright 20111 Betsy Lewis

Another song by Cat Stevens to enjoy – I’m being followed by a

Morning… Postcard from the Beach


I’ve always loved this time of day and this song… Morning has Broken… Cat Stevens
May your day begin with love and light.
Namaste ~ Star Bear

Late Bloomers


Everything blooms in it’s own time. The north shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is beautifully bloomin’ at last. Some of us are “late” bloomers… what’s “late”? Can beauty be late? Is Mother Nature ever late?
May you burst into bountiful blooms when it’s your time.

Namaste ~ Starbear

Post-A-Day 2011 – Postcard from Spring

2011 April 2

While others share their signs of Spring
Snow here still hides most everything…
Yet, Spring brings light, not dull and gray
Clear Light begins to end the day

Crisp Clear Light

Light seen through woods, ‘tween trees
Brings contrast to the world we sees!
Colors in both bark and trunk
Lifting winter’s tired funk

Coyote Jokester

Coyote jokesters jump and play
Hide and seek in woods today
Across the frozen snow they trot
North then south, they slink and plot

Superior’s blocks of ice and snow
In sunlight cast their crystal glow
With each and every tiny drip
Spring loosens Winter’s chilly grip.

Winter dripping away...

While Water laughs a music score
Walls of ice still line the shore
Sparkling in a slow retreat
Giving way to patient heat

Crystal Walls

Sunshine! clear and crisp ‘til night
Then washing snow in sleepy light
Water droplets, ripples, flow
Signs of Spring beneath snow glow

Beneath the sheets of ice and snow...

2011 3 April ~ and today it snows once more! Spring comes slowly here. May your days be filled with sparkling light!
Namaste ~ Star Bear
Words and photographs copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Living with Snow

Luce County Taxi Service, circa 1890's, photo courtesy Luce County Historical Society

Once upon a time… this “taxi” went past my place… The trip, from Newberry to Deer Park was 30 miles one-way and took about 9 hours. Along the way, it sometimes stopped at Halfway Lake (a logging camp) for lunch and Pine Stump Junction for mail drops.
In the 1890’s, Deer Park boasted a population of 200+, a lodge, a school, a post office and the first phone was installed in 1889! In it’s heyday, there were as many as 4 freight wagon trips a day making supply deliveries. A large logging camp on the lakeshore provided a rollicking social life and apparently going there from Newberry was an exciting adventure often requiring an overnight stay.
Today it is considered by some as the “boonies” and only a a handful of residents live there in winter. In summer, the cottage people return, boosting the population and there is a popular State Park – Muskallonge Lake State Park as well. The park is open May -October. Located on a narrow spit of land between Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake, it is often buried in Lake effect SNOW! Snowmobilers love it! Dog mushers love it! I love it!
Today I think this taxi would be useful and fun, if not efficient… note the sleigh bells on the horse harness. (Today’s Snowmobilers would never hear them over the roar…) We have recieved almost a foot of snow and more coming tonight and tomorrow. My snow “play” time has been devoted to plowing my very long driveway. As daylight slowly arrives, I am off to plow for a bit before going into work. The snowplow from town may have buried the end of my driveway by now!

If you live with snow like this, you become acclimated to “snow time”… and you do what you can, not what you can’t! Wondering if the school bus made it up here, the road doesn’t get plowed on weekends.

May your day be filled with snow time, slow time, and the sound of bells tinkling!

Snow whispers…

Sunday, December 13, 2010
5:30 am

In the quiet darkness of morning moonlit snow silence. Shhhhsh, swsshhh, crunch, the first step, the only sound, whispers.

‎:) …. Whispers – Followed by… the swish of the snow shovel, roar of the diesel tractor, (Thank you, tractor for starting so easily! 🙂 8 degrees, wind chill minus 20 and a total of twelve hours of pushing snow… with two food warm-up breaks preceded by 6 hours yesterday and 5 the day before… I love snow and would love to share some with you! I am blissfully asking the snow fairies to dance at your place for a few days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010
Snow. Snow plowing. Snowshoes. Deep Snow. More snow falling! Yay! A foot + in 24 hours. Cold…Brrr…Windy…wind chill… Plow, eat, warm up, plow. to get to work… Thank you anonymous angel who sent a gas card for fuel and gift certificate for T.P., shampoo, etc.
Did you know you can’t drive a tractor while wearing snow shoes? LOL! May your day be filled with laughter and lots of snow!

copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis


11 September 2010

Was Longfellow ever here? Schoolcraft? Wondering...

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem, published in 1856, Song of Hiawatha is a reminder of why we live here. Largely based on work by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (March 28, 1793 – December 10, 1864) a reading of Schoolcraft’s bio brings to light the source of many of Michigan’s “Indian” place names… Interesting reading, both the poem and the history.
I just live here… write and photograph, read, learn, watch, listen, often wondering whose footprints I was following…
yesterday I flushed a quail as I walked a trail. Both of us startled, quickly displaying it’s neck ruff and fanned tail, it vanished with a whisper of rustling leaves, blending into thick underbrush… too fast for my camera… at the beach, a very large agate lay waiting discovery.

The Treasures of an hour…
May your day be filled with treasures rich and quiet ~ sources of joy.


Golden Opportunities

Friday, 3 September 2010 Chilly Rain
Awake early, a rainy chilly morning,
high on the doorwall overlooking the woods, appeared this lovely
amphibian, seemingly from out of nowhere.
Glad I have a stay at home morning. Leaping with Joy.


Dawning Gold

My! Such elegant toes you have!
Did they help propel you to this height?
How long will you stay,
attracted to this glass by light?

Long enough for dawn to break,
the rain to cease, the sun to shine?
Long enough to share your golden glow?
Just how long do you plan to stay?
(No plan. I’m sure.)
The camera wants to know!

Exposing your underbelly there ~
you must be quite aware,
frog legs are not our choice
of early morning fare!
Your breakfast of bugs?
Enjoy the feast.
No envy here, not in the least.


Daybreak Glory

Backlit by rainbow woods you stay,
moving not an inch.
How patiently you wait to eat,
without a micro flinch.

The sun now full, you stay an hour,
long enough to watch,
I turn my back and you are gone,
another bug to catch.

You’ve come before, in darkness,
no light to share your way
I thank you for your visit
between the night and day.
Copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis
May your day be as fun as mine!
~ Starbear