Winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

"This is the real world, not the world gilded and pearled. I stand under wiped skies directly, naked, without intercessors. Frost winds have lofted my body’s bones with all their restless sprints to an airborne raven’s glide. I am buoyed by a calm and effortless longing, an angled pitch of the will, like the set of the wings of the monarch which climbed a hill by falling still.” 
-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

In the thick of winter, the Great Lakes become an icy, open air temple. The resident holy spirit is a wind that springs from the water with soul-seeking vigor and an icy, below-zero bite. 

When I ache to feel my smallness and creature-hood, when I ache to sit in my proper place in the universal seating chart (with the dogs), when I ache to un-forget (and I too-often conveniently forget) how intertwined beginnings and endings and life and death are, it only makes sense to head north and sit before that terrible, spirited wind.

Open before the cold, like Ms. Dillard, my body & bones—properly placed in the order of things—become grounded & still. I'm freed and en-spirited to be a creature, and freed from striving to be more.

My day was cut short by another pointed reminder of my smallness—a quick slip and spill on the ice and a mild shoulder separation. Some yawping and rolling got things in place again, and I dizzily made one last photograph before heading for hot coffee and an ice pack.