Gaze on Michigan’s wonder
Photography by Shawn Malone

The star-filled night skies are the soul of summer, an anticipated time unmatched by any other season in Michigan for the depth of color, an unobstructed view and seemingly unending vastness of brilliant lights, especially when the northern lights come to play.

Sky gazing invites searching for some method of satisfaction to answer the curiosity of its wonder. I relish the time spent on night sails with my father, the time we had to talk casually and his knowledge of celestial navigation, for which he had earned Power Squadron certifications and Coast Guard citations. I liked this study far more than learning to chart Lake Michigan destinations and float plan expectations.

Seeing the elements of the photo feature Dark Skies come together for this Summer issue was a great privilege. The thoughtful narrative is outdone only by the ability of photographers to capture the beauty and power of summer’s soul. A visit to any of the seven designated Michigan Dark Sky Preserves should be on every bucket list.

But the wonder of Michigan in summer also is found in its wildlife refuges. In the feature “Naturally beautiful refuges,” writer Leslie Mertz offers an invitation to explore (by bike, boat or car) in her descriptive manner. I was particularly taken by this paragraph describing the Shiawassee National Refuge near Saginaw: “… sightings may include the state-threatened Blanding’s turtle — with its yellow throat — relaxing near a wetland, a rainbow of colorful butterflies and dragonflies in an open field, playful river otters romping beside the Shiawassee River shoreline, a golden or bald eagle perched in the treetops …”

“Who’s your Huckleberry?” on page 26 walks readers through the Fruit Belt of the Great Lakes, offering a guide most specific to the wild berries ready to be picked by passersby. Lisa M. Rose provides delicious descriptions likely to prompt an impromptu field trip.

Excursions is loaded with the events of summer but don’t overlook the uniquely Michigan festivals celebrating food and fruit as royalty. The National Asparagus Festival in Fremont, Belleville’s National Strawberry Festival and the Traverse City National Cherry Festival have June dates.

Carole Valade,
Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine