We are camping at Petoskey State Park in northern lower Michigan this week, on a shakedown cruise of our new (to us) RV. Located on Lake Michigan along a sandy strip that was once a tannery, the park is tucked into dunes that quickly transition into hemlock and beech forest. It also abuts a wonderful bike path called the Little Traverse Wheelway, which we rode north into Harbor Springs under a cloudless sky yesterday.
Today is as gray and rainy as yesterday was bright and clear. We hunted petoskey stones between downpours this morning, wading in 43 degree water (great therapy for pesky plantar fasciitis). Our bucket filled fast with over 100 stones. A loon swam along with us about 50 yards out, letting out one lone wail to let its mate know where it was.
I looked down the shoreline to watch my husband hunt stones. He was standing like a human question mark *, head bent, shoulders hunched, knee-deep in the mirror-calm melted ice. No need for him to yodel like the loon, he knew I was nearby. We have haunted these waters together for 45 years. We know each other so well, and share a simple but never stale delight when one of us finds a particularly beautiful petoskey stone.
Back at the picnic table, we sorted through stones and slugged down hot tea. Just one morning of many. Deeply satisfying. The rain resumed, a sky unburdened; a revelation of the simplicity of time spent side by side in unusually quiet waters at the edge of the whispering forest, like a loon pair with an oft-stamped passport of a long-married life together.
* this analogy may be attributable to Jane Austen (cannot find the exact source)