Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flower Pot Island in Georgian Bay is named for the limestone feature pictured.  I enjoyed a boat trip where I saw many islands and I was so impressed that I painted this watercolor.  The color of the water is very beautiful and its clarity allows views of sunken ships from glass bottom boats.

I visited The Bruce Peninsula while researching my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.

This painting is now on display in Grand Haven Michigan's Community Center Lakeland Artists Show.

My book is available at Barnes & Noble, and many other fine independent bookstores such as The Bookman in Grand Haven, MI.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grand Haven Kite Festival

If someone told me to go fly a kite, I would.  It's lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

M Live Story by N Reens: Directional Drilling

I thought this was settled.  We cannot endanger the Great Lakes freshwater.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Sen. Debbie Stabenow wrote the bill that banned drilling for oil on the Great Lakes, but Republican candidates seeking to challenge her in November are making it a campaign issue to out one of their own.
Holland Republican Pete Hoekstra, who lives about two miles from Lake Michigan, is under fire from his GOP opposition and Democrats alike for the alleged shifting tide on his oil drilling position.
In a stop last week in Clarkston, Hoekstra told tea party members that he supports directional drilling from onshore sites around the Great Lakes. That’s the opposite stance he took in 2001 and 2005, when he voted for a ban on the practice while in the U.S. House.
Hoekstra clarified Monday that he believes the issue belongs to states to decide, not Washington, and that advances in technology have made it a safer practice than before.
But it didn’t take long for Hoekstra’s Republican primary opponents Gary Glenn and Clark Durant, environmentalists, and state and national Democrats to seize on the apparent misstep.
Gary Glenn is an underdog running against Pete Hoekstra for the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Debbie Stabenow.
Glenn, while trying to draw a distinction between himself and Hoekstra at a Monday candidates forum in Grandville, said that he supports the practice. Energy independence and domestic production are poised to be key issues in races across the country and Great Lakes drilling could be an $8 billion industry, Glenn said.
“Pete said he favored directional drilling under the Great Lakes, and then Pete ran for cover under (scrutiny) from environmentalists,” Glenn said Monday.
Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, and Progress Michigan, on Monday, all called for Hoekstra to reverse his drilling position, but none mentioned Glenn’s admitted “drill, baby, drill,” drive.
Hoekstra pushed back on Glenn’s allegation, contending no one wants people without an interest in the Great Lakes making decisions for those in the water basin. He likened it to attempts to divert water to others states, an idea quickly rejected under the Great Lakes Compact.
“That decision better be made here in the state,” Hoekstra said. “If you let that decision be made in Washington, they’ll tell you where to drill. If you call that running from accountability, you can do that. Or you can say, OK, that’s pretty smart. I’d rather trust the people (here) over the people in Washington to make that decision.”
Durant, considered by pundits to be Hoekstra’s primary competition, drew his line in the sand, taking the opposite tack as Glenn and backing Stabenow’s position of a Great Lakes drilling ban.
“I’m not going to let one driller go into the water of the Great Lakes,” Durant said. “It’s a tremendous asset. We do not need to put that at risk to drill, baby, drill. There are plenty of places to drill. Don’t put the Great Lakes at risk. That’s one of the things that makes Michigan special.”
Democrats criticized Hoekstra’s alleged drilling flip-flop, and Glenn’s position by association, by saying federal studies indicate there are about 312 million barrels of oil under the water. That would provide 16 days of energy and have virtually no impact on world markets, Democrats said.
"Hoekstra's desire to end the federal ban on drilling the Great Lakes for oil is totally out of the mainstream and completely outrageous,” said Mark Brewer, the chair of the state party. “Even most Republicans have supported the ban on drilling in the Lakes because they recognize that a disaster like the BP spill in the Gulf or the Enbridge spill in Michigan could destroy the Great Lakes - and the jobs and industries that depend on them.”
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Day Before May

Praise from William Stafford

looking at an old notebook
I was bored last night so I started looking through some old notebooks I had kept. I came across page after page of drafts for a poem. It was interesting to me to see the process of getting the words down to what I was actually trying to say. The early drafts became the poem "Circuits" that is in my book, The Wilderness Within.

Years ago, William Stafford, Poet Laureate, looked at the poem "Circuits" in a workshop and said it reminded him of the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. And then he asked me, "How easy is this for you?" I did not mention the pages of drafts, but I did say that I like to play with words. I do. Writing poetry is playing with words until I get it right.

Here is the poem:  


Light from a star that died
shines out
from jade green eyes.
A salmon tail fans streambed stones
and dark silt swirls.
Millennia ago a star spurt fire and
now a constellation of eggs
and white milt spiral down
in black water.
Fishbone lattices litter the stream
that speaks of glaciers
and purls.
Frost flowers bloom on the cut bank
while embryos curl in sweet cold sleep below.

This books is widely available at, Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the Singing Sands: Lake Michigan

This beach is famous for its singing sands.  When you drag your toe or shoe across wet sand it gives you a high pitched sound.  Read more about this phenomenon in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.
The book is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon (also the Kindle edition) and many other bookstores.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mayflies: Excerpted from The Dynamic Great Lakes

Mayflies Are Indicators of a Healthy Environment
Around the islands of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, mayflies are good indicators of a healthy

habitat. Some people call them fish flies;

there are several varieties well known by fishermen who tie artificial


On a warm day in late June or early July, the northern waters of

the Lakes Huron and Michigan and all of Lake Superior undulate

gently. Reflections of trees shine in their glassy waters. Suddenly the

surface pops with the emerging of billions of fish flies wiggling free

from their cases; they are lucky if they live to fly off before a fish

sucks them out of the water first. If they fly, ducklings, songbirds

and flocks of seagulls gobble them like guests at a festive banquet.

The graceful flies with soft bodies and transparent veined wings

that do survive, find a mate, mate, and then the female lays about

3,000 eggs on the surface of the water. The eggs sink to the bottom,

develop into larvae, or the nymph stage. On the bottom they stay for

one or two years, feeding upon plankton and molting up to 30 times

until it is time for them to emerge as adult insects, popping out of

their casings like popcorn. The life cycles begin again.

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