Tag Archives: The Living Great Lakes

August 16, 2017

The Living Great Lakes audiobook is now available in all the usual places, in both digital and CD versions. Thanks to SoundCommentary.com for this terrific review…

Jerry is honored to be the inaugural author in the Great Lakes Author Series produced by Great Lakes Now and Detroit Public TV, who are doing important work on raising awareness about issues facing the Great Lakes and Michigan….

Jerry and Glenn are at work on a summer-themed limited-edition print—the third in the series that began with ”Lake Michigan Winter” and  “Spring Comes to Lake Michigan.”  Learn more at Big Maple Press. If you’d like to receive early notification of  Big Maple Press prints, broadsides, books, chapbooks, and ephemera click on this link and we’ll add you to the list….

Jerry is now Tweeting about books, nature, and the writing life; if you want to follow him, you can….

Many thanks to Keith Taylor and “Stateside” on Michigan Radio for the fine review of A Walk in the Animal Kingdom….

While we’re tooting our own horn, a 5-star review of A Walk in the Animal Kingdom came our way (and another, here). The three titles in the Wonders of Nature Series are available at our favorite independent bookstores. If you can’t get to an indie store, visit the newly revamped and user-friendly Big Maple Press website or visit the “Books” page here on the J.D. site….

This thoughtful and well-researched article in Traverse Magazine by Jeff Smith is an excellent overview of the issue about the aging Line 5 Pipeline that flows under the Straits of Mackinac. The Enbridge pipeline should be removed as soon as possible, before it ruptures and unleashes a disaster. We urge everyone who cares about the Great Lakes to visit  Oil & Water Don’t Mix and FLOW For Water and add their voices so that Michigan’s governor and attorney general will take immediate action….

We hope you’ll sign up at the bottom of this page for Jerry’s monthly newsletter, which offers observations on the seasons, updates on works in progress, and insights about the writing life. We promise your address is secure and we will never share it.

Night Watch on the Malabar

WHEN I WAS A KID I wanted a life of adventure. What kid doesn’t? But I had the wrong idea about it. I thought you had to risk your life. I thought you had to travel to distant places and throw yourself into difficult situations. I didn’t know that ordinary moments can be adventures, too.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a moment that occurred one night when I was motoring in a boat through the Straits of Mackinac. It wasn’t exactly an ordinary experience for me—I was helping deliver the two-masted schooner Malabar from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic while working on the book that would become The Living Great Lakes. There were many rowdy adventures ahead, yet fourteen years later it’s the quiet moments I remember best.

We had just passed beneath the Mackinac Bridge and were approaching the low dark bulk of Bois Blanc Island. Ahead was open Lake Huron—a blackness stretching to the horizon. The night was cold, the wind still, and the Milky Way sprayed a river of stars across the sky. I stood alone in the bow of the boat and hoped the night would never end.

I loved night watch on the Malabar. Usually only the captain, Hajo Knuttle, and I were on deck, and many nights we stood together at the helm and talked. But at some point we always separated, one staying at the helm and the other going to the bow. The pleasure I discovered in those hours surprised me.  Being on the water was part of it, but there were deeper satisfactions at play. Maybe it was being in motion, the boat cutting resolutely through the night. And probably it had a lot to do with seeing new places, or old places in new ways. And of course it was exhilarating to be in the Straits, at that crossroads of geography and history. For years I had been studying all we have done to mistreat the Great Lakes and was growing disheartened. But that night the lakes seemed to have changed little over the centuries. It was possible to believe our stains would wash away.

A moment can swell to fill a bigger space. Hours had gone by without much happening, but suddenly there came a moment of radiance. The lake in every direction was glass-smooth and bright with stars, and when I turned to look toward the stern I was startled to see the long trail of the moon on the water stretching to the Mackinac Bridge. The bridge arched in a spray of lights across the Straits, and the gibbous moon was suspended above it.

I wanted the boat to stop. I wanted time itself to stop. I needed the entire night—my entire life—to think about that moment. Already I knew it would stay with me for as long as I lived.