When you live in a northern state like Michigan, summer is extra special. Winter is so long, and summer so short, that we can’t waste a minute of sunshine.
The landscape transforms almost instantly. Last week the bare branches felt light snow and killing frost; this week the forests are greening up as if an artist were slapping on paint. Just yellow-green buds yesterday, swaths of leaves today, full shade by tomorrow. The beloved cherry orchards barely had time to show off their blossoms before the green growth took over.
Sleepy little towns like Leland, which are virtually abandoned in the winter, become bustling tourist centers starting around Memorial Day. This year the transformation is even more dramatic because the Covid-19 lockdown closed business across the state for two months. Just a few days ago Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that restaurants and retail in the northernmost counties could reopen this weekend, as long as safety precautions were practiced. Village streets are jammed with delivery trucks as merchants unpack boxes and restock shelves.
Summer anticipation is always tinged with a bit of apprehension. Will it be a good fishing year? Will the lake be too high or will summer heat tame the wet spring? But this year the questions are are bigger and bolder. Will the tourists from Detroit and Chicago return or will travel fears keep them away? Is the Covid virus waning or will a second wave hit fast and furious like a summer squall?
None of those fears can dim the excitement, however. The sky is blue. The shimmering water is so inviting. And, ooooo, that sun feels so good.