Saturday, June 28, 2014


Painters gathered at the Bayou, mentored
by Roger Bechtold.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Activities enjoyed by visitors and island residents invite us outdoors, and despite the pesky mosquitos that seem to be more prevalent than in recent years, the warmth and freshness of the air is appealing.

The ferries, both Northport ferries and the Karfi to Rock Island, are now on a summer schedule, and the Cherry Train will make four daily tours beginning today.  Visitors are arriving already for the coming week that will include a Fourth of July Children's Parade and fireworks at the ballpark.  Camping is in full swing - we carried over three boy scout troops Thursday to Rock Island, besides other campers and day visitors.

Every so often, we participate in hosting a group of Travel Writers, organized through Geiger Associates of Florida, in conjunction with the Door County Visitor Bureau.   These writers come from across the U. S. and write for a variety of newspapers and magazines.  Among the six on the Thursday morning Karfi ride to Rock Island was Rick Wright, an editor for Birding Magazine.   Because we knew their names and areas of interest in advance, Melody Walsh, a local birder, was paired with Wright for the afternoon on Washington Island.

Melody Walsh with Rick Wright of Birding Magazine,
one of several travel writers who visited Rock and
Washington Islands last Thursday.

So that our birding attention spans don't get lazy, Melody and Randy Holm spotted a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher a few days ago, another rare bird sighting, adding to the already rather long list of rare birds cited this spring.  (And, for the record, Melody says the Crested Caracara was seen again just a day or so ago, as was the Black Vulture…)  Among the pointers she picked up from Wright was that as a writer and editor he was actually more interested in the variety of habitat the Island offers birds, and that bird numbers are high and varied, given we are beyond the general migratory time period.  Wright also expressed surprise there wasn't more general interest in Washington Island by birders.  That may change, if slowly.

Bayou painters

Several times each year, nationally known painter and Island seasonal resident Roger Bechtold holds classes, and a good deal of class time is spent outdoors when the weather cooperates.  Yesterday the class of approximately 15 students brought their easels and paintboxes to the Bayou, where they first had a demonstration by Roger, then worked on their own paintings.  It was a perfect day, and a light breeze kept temperatures cool and the mosquitos at bay.

Bechtold (center) points out a subtlety of light
and color to one of his students.
 Meanwhile, back at our house, I put finishing touches on a welded, painted sculpture piece, this one a rocking chair with a window view.  The old door comes by way of the Town metal pile scavenged by Mary Jo several years back.  It was from a truck operated by Lonnie Jorgenson to haul fish and freight (the phone number gives away its age as 1960s vintage, with the truck being much older than that).  My Grandfather spent many hours in a rocking chair looking out a window on Old Stage Road (perhaps thinking back on his boyhood in Germany, when he wasn't reading cowboy novels), and I suppose that "activity" holds appeal for me in some way.

Zander and his mom, Evy, try out
my new sculpture rocking chair.

Janet Wilson remembered

Washington Island lost a writer, friend and kind soul in Janet Wilson a short time ago.

Janet and her husband Jim, you may recall, hosted the helicopter crew at their Eastside home on a Sunday morning in early March.  

Janet will be remembered for, among other things, the novels she wrote, and she recently published a volume of poems.  

This past Wednesday evening an expanded Trinity Lutheran Church choir, directed by Dan Hansen with a program organized by Dan, sang for an audience of Island residents and Island Forum members.  Selected stanzas from Janet's poems were read between hymns.  

Her descriptive words regarding the Island and nature describe Janet's place - our place - in the universe.  Here is one stanza from Warmth and Light, a stanza I was privileged to read:

I walk alone this day…or do I?
If God is love and love is everywhere, 
Surely the divine mystery is here, 
loving this Island,
These wild things and me.
Come, walk along, hear nature's song,
Feel the embrace of warmth and light.

-  Dick Purinton

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