Greetings from the beautiful Keweenaw! I can say that with full appreciation of the term. We have a beautiful, cobalt blue sky, temps in the mid-70’s and very little humidity. The positive side to the catastrophic rains of June and early July are now showing up in the form of a bountiful berry crop. Thimbleberries are ready for picking and being picked. Blueberries are just coming on-line, as are the raspberries, huckleberries and juneberries. Strawberries are done-zo and the blackberries will be ready at the end of August. The summer wildflower crop is also going gangbusters right now. My knowledge of types of wildflowers is limited and Nora is not around to help me out with her abundant knowledge on the subject, but suffice to say there are many different varieties and they are as beautiful and bountiful as I have seen in many years up here.

It has actually been quite dry in the past 2-3 weeks, but the woods are still plenty green and the fire danger is pretty low. The bugs are not overly problematic, with temps dropping to below 40 degrees around 10 days ago and into the low 50’s just recently. We did have a little bit of mid-September weather up here on Thursday and Friday. Temps were only in the low 60’s for highs and we had lots of low clouds and even some light rain and drizzle. That weather could also have passed for late September and early October, but the fact that the woods are still fully green and not showing any signs of autumn color is why I chose mid-September.

I typically shy away from getting really deep into my thoughts and feelings in these writings, but for some reason I feel compelled to do so now. The past week or two have had me thinking a lot about my dad. As most of you know, he passed away 11 years ago, peacefully in his sleep. It was his 89th birthday yesterday and in 2 weeks and 2 days, it will be the 11th anniversary of his death. My thoughts of him have not really revolved much around his birthday or his death. In fact, I had to have Nora’s help with the exact date of his death. I only knew it was in the first half of August.

Most of the conscience thoughts about him have actually been due to his appearance in my dreams the past few weeks. I am one of those that does not typically recall most of my dreams. Sometimes I will remember them upon waking in the middle of the night, but by the time I awake for good in the morning, I cannot remember much, if anything about them. However, I have been having some pretty vivid dreams and in many of them, he has been in them. Primarily as just a casual character in them and not him speaking to me or doing anything extra special with me. I don’t have any idea why this is occurring and am not concerned a bit by it. Just find it interesting and enjoyable is all.

I can say that a very special experience happened to me about 2 weeks ago that might very well be playing a role. When my Dad passed away, a group of fiends of the site banded together to purchase two apple trees to be planted in remembrance of my Dad. A few years earlier, they had purchased two fruit trees in remembrance of Burt and Bailieys. The two trees for Burt and Baileys did not make it. Deer de-foilaged them and they could not recover. Both trees in honor of my Dad are alive, although one was pretty beat up by the deer and for some reason the other was always left untouched.

Anyway, back to 2 weeks ago. All of the Dee clan was out in the garden having a look at things and picking some weeds. When that finished up, Nora went inside for a bit, while Gracie climbed the one healthy apple tree and I hung out with her and chatted. We talked about the tree and how it came to live in our yard. I said that it was a pretty special apple tree and that Gracie could climb it, but not only did she have to be careful to not fall out of it and get hurt, but she had to be extra careful to not damage it by climbing too high and breaking branches.

It was then that Gracie told me that it was her favorite tree to climb of all the trees in our woods (we have a few you know!). She said that she loves to climb up into it with a book and read and that there is a perfect spot to sit and read. She said that she loves being up in it (what kid does not like to climb trees) and that she also loves the sitting spot, as it is shaded, comfortable and quiet. However, she went on to tell me that the reason why it is her favorite tree to climb in our woods is because when the wind blows, she feels safe. She says that it feels like the branches wrap around her and keep her from falling. All the other trees just shake in the wind and make it feel like she is going to fall out of them.

When she said that, I instantly felt the presence of my Dad with us and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood straight up. What she described about that tree is how I always felt around my Dad. Safe, like he would not allow anything that I could not handle to happen to me. After inconspicuously wiping away a little tear, I told her about how my Dad made me feel that way when I was around him and that we should name that apple tree “Grandpa-Tree”. And so it is.

Grace was not able to meet my Dad, as he passed before she was born, but I have always gotten the feeling from her that she somehow knows what he was like. I know the two of them would have been inseparable and am glad that she can feel his love and kindness through the safety of that apple tree. I also now have my answer to why the deer NEVER ate the leaves and small branches off of that tree.

Good night from the Keweenaw..