Cattails down by the beaver pond in Herman

Cattails down by the beaver pond in Herman

Another day in the great outdoors along the south shore of Lake Superior.  Today I motored inland and upwards towards the settlement known as Herman.  I hate to label some of our backwoods areas as “towns” or “villages” as one would often be hard pressed to locate a store, post office or gas station.  Some of our communities do have buildings known as “town halls” where gala feasts or jamborees occur at various times of the year, but deep winter finds these halls mostly deserted.

I have several friends who live in Herman and it’s always a pleasure to drive up to visit.  Herman is known as the snow belt of Baraga County.  In many years it’s common for us low-landers (near the lake) to get an inch or two of snow during a snowfall while a foot or more buries them up in Herman.  Shoveling or plowing up there takes more fortitude than down in Aura or Skanee or Bovine.  (Please!  No rebuttals!  If any of you disagree, please buy a plot of land in Herman next winter.)

Herman apparently has 117 inches of total snow this winter.  My unofficial and guestimated count down here near the lake averages more like 60-70 inches.  It’s been cold this winter, but we’re not buried in snow.  It’s often colder up there on the hilltop, as well, according to friends when we compare thermometer readings.

12 degrees this afternoon

12 degrees this afternoon

We went snowshoeing this afternoon down by the beaver ponds.  But not before four of us met for our monthly Artist’s Way meeting.  Every month since last July we’ve been joining together to study “The Artist’s Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron.  Usually the participants meet once a week for twelve weeks.  Because we’re all busy and located at far ends of the Keweenaw we’ve decided to stretch the course for a year. 

You discover ways to open creative channels, explore possible blocks to creativity, and dive into new possibilities.  It’s been a fascinating seven months thus far.  We start Chapter 8 for next month.  I highly recommend this process for anyone wanting to grow, to develop the inner artist, or simply to explore more self-discovery.  We have at least one seasoned artist in our group who is utilizing the course to assist her in expanding her already talented portfolio.

After a lively near-four hour session (complete with a fabulous orzo pasta and vegetable stew) Catherine and I said goodbye to our fellow artists and pulled out our snowshoes.  We drove down to the mailbox a half mile from her house, put on the snowshoes and hiked back to the ponds.  No beaver in sight, but we weren’t expecting any at mid-winter. 

Driving home near sunset, I glimpsed an orange-pink fiery sky over the bay.  Living in between tall poplars and maples in the woods, it’s hard to get a good view of sunsets.  I pulled over next to the ice fishermen returning from their shacks on Keweenaw Bay and snapped the following photo:

Sunset on Keweenaw Bay, end January, 2009

Sunset on Keweenaw Bay, end January, 2009

Look at that violet sky and evening-blue snow…..ahhh….another gorgeous day in the north woods.

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