Starting out early was key to yesterday’s short paddle down from Port Austin to Caseville. The wind started whipping around 10am as I approached Oak Point. It doesn’t take much to get the very, very shallow Saginaw Bay into a bouncy, washing machine type frenzy. So the bay had a nice amount of texture before I got out of the wind.
Buck Buck’s Marina is hosting my boat for the night. Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk much to him, but he seems like a pretty neat guy. His barn has a mural on it and he has a kick-a garden in his backyard. Full of lettuces and stuff. I wonder how he keeps out the rabbits. My lettuces get nibbled down in no time! Guess I need more hawks.
This is a short blog cause I really need to get out the door-but Lindsy was kind enough to write up her thoughts surrounding this “paddle for our water” journey.
“You have family in Michigan now. If you ever need anything, let us know,” Jim Neumann said as I got ready to head out from his business and home on Harsens Island in Michigan, called the Riverside Grocery. Margo and I had been fed, housed, and treated with wonderful hospitality before taking our time to depart to our next stop.
As John Vargo said, Jim Neumann and his family were ‘strangers no more’. John Vargo was mine and Margo’s first host on this trip. We met on the first day that I was on my own to find a place to stay for the night, when I straggled into the marina on the pre-made list of stops Margo had put together. This day had begun us relying on the kindness of strangers. And throughout the month of my “shift” from May 20 to June 20, the strangers did not disappoint with their friendliness, trust, and honest advice.
This type of travel has to be one of the most humbling. The distance Margo is able to make is completely reliant on wind direction, the current, and thunder-free skies. Mother Nature is our delegator. Whenever we were faced with uncertain conditions or a troubling forecast, Margo would proclaim her favorite cliche–“it is what it is, you get what you get, and you don’t get upset”. I think that’s the best way to be; appreciative of what you have been given and not worrying about things out of your control.
I wish everyone had the gumption and willpower to make a journey such as the one Margo has undertaken. To have to stay with and interact with people who may have very different views from your own. And yet, you realize that no matter what your stance is on abortion, religion, homosexuality, guns, or the most heated of topics…we all need the same things to survive. Clean air, water, and food. The argument is usually jobs and economic growth vs. The environment. To me, who cares if we all have money and prosperity if the very resources our bodies need are so degraded they are ruining our health? All the money in the world can’t reverse neurotoxicity from mercury or the cancerous, immune, and circulatory effects of PCBs.
Unfortunately, it’s not so simple to just say to a company, “Hey, if you stop dumping that chemical in this pond, that’d be great.” Currently, the EPA is proposing the Clean Water Rules to regulate bodies of water that are temporary, that in times of rain connect and eventually drain out to lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Throughout the trip, Margo and I did not encounter one person who said they support dirty water. But, we’d see people leaving their styrofoam worm containers on the shore or waterfront properties that clearly used generous amounts of Round-Up and fertilizer. Unlike the large companies that seek to keep the Clean Water Rules from ever succeeding, Margo does not have a financial or political agenda. She wants a clean, healthy future for her own children and their children after them. As we traveled, we saw that every area had its own water issues.
So what’s the solution? Use reusable bags instead of plastic. Eat less meat. Support local businesses and organizations that do things right. After all–shopping is politics. Every decision we make impacts future generations. We do not want to be the generation that tipped the Earth’s climate into the danger zone. I do not want to be a part of ruining the beautiful, alive, blue-green planet that is Earth. It’s the only home we’ve ever known.