I was just posting a response to a blog about a book on Great Lakes Berries, by Eric Kodner, when I had a recollection of a summer in Michigan that I will never forget.
It may not seem like such an incredible thing to most people today but it left an indelible memory that re-surfaces for me every now and then and I would like to share it with you, especially at this time of year when most families are together and memories flow.
There is a river in Michigan that meanders across the "mitten" from one side to the other. I was too young at the time to remember exactly where, but it is one of the longest rivers in the state. Called "THE LOOKING GLASS RIVER" it was the most beautiful sight to see. It was so still; it hardly moved and the surface was exactly like a looking glass.
Now, we are talking about the 50"s and 60's here, so the river may not even exist anymore. But at the time it was a little known secret, except by those (namely, my father) who had driven the state doing "research" of the rivers there.
My father was a landscape architect and a horticulturist of the highest order; not only did he have degrees in both, he lived by the "book" so to speak. His life was filled with the most vibrant experiences, simply because he was so immersed in the "calling" of nature. He would speak Latin to describe most plants, so when we were growing up our knowledge of the common names of shrubs and plants was almost nil. As a result of his incredible knowledge and interest in things "green" I had an intense interest in them as well.
One wonderful, sunny summer weekend my father told us at the breakfast table that we were going to take a trip and the trip would take the whole summer. We would do this trip every weekend, never going to the same spot and returning home at the end of each part of the trip. There were 7 of us altogether. My eldest sister was away for that summer and would miss this experience.
We all piled into Dad's huge GMC van; Mom filled a basket with food for later. We drove and drove until we stopped at a bridge, covered with vines and enshrouded with overgrowth of wild plants and trees. We all traipsed behind Dad, down the river bank, pushing aside the bushes and brambles to see what this was all about. At one point there was a sudden clearing and we all came to a stop.....we held our collective breath as we peered down at the most beautiful sight any of us had ever seen...there it was: THE LOOKING GLASS RIVER. Dad didn't have to say much; we just looked at this tranquil, slow moving sheet of "glass" as it curved around the bend and meandered onward.....onward and onward. We picked berries along the edge of this beauty and sat on the banks of the river with our lunch.
This trip was repeated all summer long; every weekend, we would pile into that huge GMC and take off. What an experience for young minds! We traveled that entire river and where we couldn't drive, we walked until we had seen the entire length of it. My memory of the whole story about the river itself is dim but I really think that the story is in the sight of it. It did not take a vivid imagination to figure out why the name. I learned so much that summer, as I usually did whenever I spent time with my dad. It was a summer to remember!!!
IS THERE STLL A LOOKING GLASS RIVER??? If you have any information let me know, please.