In Uncategorized on June 12, 2009 at 3:03 PM

The Old Mission Historical pot-luck ended early the other night, and left me with a few hours of daylight left in the heart of the old village.  The Legion hall is across the street from the place where the missionaries landed nearly two hundred years earlier.  I walked down to the shore, where the water laid flat and still like glass and only the sound of a small craft gurgling out some ways from shore could be heard.  

I tried to squint at the opposing shoreline, where the whites of houses peaked over the tops of young trees, to see what it must have been like so long ago to stand in the same place and see nothing but the tall, dark greenery of trees breaking up the space between lake and sky.  A strange calm fell over me and for a moment, time stood completely still.

Walking back to the car, I decided to follow Swaney around the bay to see what side-road I might venture down and found a small dirt path leading into the woods where old houses, boarded for the season, stood watch over a silent sea of hovering gnats and floating ferns.  It was not a county road, nor was it private, so I turned down this path and followed it for some time.  It was a long, narrow road, lined with ancient trees; shadowy hemlocks and leaning white pines.  I wanted to walk through those woods, but thought better with nightfall coming so soon.  

At the end of the road was a small turn around circling a tree, so I stopped the car and got out to see what was beyond the rough foliage of the wooded bluff.  I stood on the very lip of the bluff and saw the great height, the soaring, uninterrupted blue of the bay and traced it all the way to Elk Rapids, my hometown only a few miles East.  I caught my breath and squatted beside a stump suspended precariously by a few stubborn roots.  Beneath, arched in perfect splendor, was a circle of large stones.  A mystery discovered and yet, the primitive nature of the natural environment is what awed me most.  

How many years, I had sat on the opposite shoreline, looking out at this very place; curious, contemplative.  And now, I sat at the pinnacle, amid the sensation I knew even less, and revelling a little in it.


100 Years: Old Mission Time Capsule

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 at 1:14 PM

May 6th marked the one hundredth anniversary of the time capsule buried at the original Old Mission Schoolhouse in the village.  The capsule itself has not yet been officially located, but an article in the Traverse City news paper reports the sealed leaden casket was buried beneath a maple sapling.  We’re hoping to discover the location of the capsule sometime this summer.

Look about you

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Old Mission’s north end was a stopping point for people long before the Egyptians constructed the first pyramids in Egypt; back to a time when mastodons, giant elk and musk oxen roamed Michigan; in a post-glacial era when the peninsula looked very different than it looks today.  We tend to think of Old Mission’s first people being the Anishinabek culture, but there were other cultures who came before and left evidence of their presence here.  This summer will be spent examining these artifacts and trying to piece together the story of Old Mission’s earliest residents.  And you can be a part of the search.  

The history is written in your own backyard.  Keep your eyes open and look about you – you’ll see both the spectacular peninsula (as our license plates suggests) and the subtle markings of a history spanning thousands of years.