I always get a little antsy this time of year. It’s been a long Michigan winter with lots of gray skies and bitter cold. I am starting to crave all things summer: sunshine, water, trees and flowers in full bloom. I want to be able to fall asleep to the gentle melody of a million crickets, and wake to the sweet sounds of the birds singing in harmony with one another. I need something to elevate my mood and start a happiness chain reaction in my soul. It’s this time of year when my thoughts always seem to wander to one of my favorite places on the planet: Mackinac Island.
As I close my eyes and allow myself to drift into day dream, I can hear the soft Lake Huron waves lapping at the Mackinac Island shore, as my bare feet dangle in the brisk fresh water that pulls at them in perfectly timed motion. As I sit on top of a large boulder a few feet off the Island shore, the sun is shining, and when I look up I can see the tail of a kite floating effortlessly in the slight warm breeze. I can hear pure delight in a child’s laughter in the distance, as she learns from her father the art of skipping stones. In the distance, I can hear the clip clop of the horse’s hooves as they pull a carriage down the road, taking the passengers to their next destination. I can smell the sweet sugary scent of homemade fudge wafting through the air, as the vents of the local fudge shop continually fill the Island with those irresistible smells that all visitors have come to know. I am delighted with all of it; my senses are overwhelmed with memories of this special place I have come to love more than so many others.
I cannot wait to visit the Mackinac Island this summer. I wish I could describe the magic of the Island to those who have never been there, but I know my words are an inadequate replacement for what this destination actually embodies. I have always believed the best experiences in life happen when all five senses are engaged at the same time. These moments are rare, and few places can boast that kind of effect on someone. Mackinac Island is one of those rare gems. It’s impossible to visit this island and not hear, feel, taste, smell and see the magic.
As my dream goes on, I envision all the things I want to experience on Mackinac Island this summer. I want to hike along the wooded trails and rest among the wildflowers that will surround me with vibrant hues of purple and yellow. I want to ride a bike around the Island, stopping along the way to discover breathtaking views and take in all the technicolor around me. I want to get lost on one of the paths, and inhale the crisp, vibrant smell of pine as the wind hits my face the faster I pedal. I want to walk down by the water and look out to see the Mackinac Bridge in all its glory; standing tall and proud and providing the passageway to the beauty that awaits visitors in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I want sit on a Mackinac Island dock as I sip wine and marvel in wonder at all the sailboats as they pass by. I want to visit Fort Mackinac and learn about its rich history. I imagine what it must have been like to be a soldier years ago, looking out onto the Straits of Mackinac knowing an attack could occur at any moment. I am reminded of how precious every second of life is. I want to feel the cool blades of grass tickling my feet as I walk barefoot through Marquette Park, taking in the abundance of laughter and energy of the children and families that surround me. I want to relish in the happy glow of those children’s faces, knowing that these moments are the moments they will remember forever.
I want to sit on the balcony of one of the downtown Mackinac Island hotels and drink coffee as the sun rises, listening to the shrill of the seagulls as they dance along the shoreline. Most importantly, I want to stop, take a breath, and inhale the sweet floral scents of all the flowers that I pass by as I walk along the sidewalks that line the quaint cottages along the Island. I am always amazed at how incredible the flowers are on Mackinac Island. The scent alone infuses me with warm, soft, happy feelings that flow through my body and immediately relax me in every sense of the word.
As I awaken from my Mackinac Island day dream I realize I am ready. I am more than ready. I know the beauty and respite that awaits me in a few months, and I can’t wait to be there. I will see you soon Mackinac Island. I can’t wait.