Monday, September 1, 2014

Wilbo Sits Out on the South Breakwater of Muskegon and Muses About the End of the Season.

They call today the end of the season in Muskegon. Many events that begin tomorrow tend to prove that our season is gone. Dockers has a Tiki deck, and almost one hundred performances has delighted record crowds this summer. The list that stands in the doorway has become a historical artifact, and we have plenty of pictures of everyone from Brena to the West Side Soul Surfers on stage. I posted a few myself. Word around around town is Docker's started to run out of beer, wine and liquor. They were thinking of tapering to no inventory and Labor Day demand proved strong. Dockers has planned to go dark until April. The Deck has plans to stay open until September 14, and then shutter until Spring.

The Deck closes tonight at 8:00 PM, and I was forced to make a choice. Walk the pier and catch the sundown or catch a beer and a barbecued beef sandwich. That wasn't really a choice. Dinner I can find after dark. Beer I can find anywhere in a town famous for beer tents.

The City of Muskegon manages Pere Marquette beach, and the city jumps the gun as far as I'm concerned. As soon as tomorrow, heavy equipment will be working the beach, carrying away sand and erecting snow fence to force sand drifts to form on the beach instead of over the road or over the homes of landlords. Pere Marquette Beach was once connected to a tall sand mountain called Pigeon Hill. Without that snow fence and tending by heavy equipment, Pigeon Hill would rise again, bury condos, clog and swallow marinas. Frankly, I would love to see it happen after all the property rights were worked out fairly.

Who really wants to hear that three weeks remain to summer? Summer requires characters to perform upon the beach, and tomorrow they'll all be in their places with bright shiny faces. We have to go inside and learn how to sustain this fairly amazing world.

The wind is high today; the waves are hitting the dolomite boulders and soaking walkers with spray. If the wind was a little more strong, walking out here would have been foolhardy. A pool of water has collected upon the beach, like a tidal pool. One long time resident of Muskegon said to me, "I've never seen such flooding on the beach before. 

A fisherman on the pier is talking an early winter, so he's anticipating an early King Salmon run. I have carried my fishing tackle in my Subaru all summer, and have stopped short of using it. Maybe I am confronted by the idea of catching a fish and having to relearn how to fillet it. The sound his line makes and whoosh his rod raises as he casts are like music to me. After fishing season, we'll have several months of perfect bowling weather.

The sun has plunged into Lake Michigan close to where I imagine Milwaukee to await my visit. I have to book an all too expensive voyage on the Lake Express before the ship's season closes. Last summer, I made the journey three times, exploring Milwaukee on a bicycle, which worked delightfully. After today, they'll cut the number of daily crossings. The end of the season once went as late as November. The runs will stop once the traffic dwindles, no matter what the official schedules says.

We often have what I call a three day blow in September, and high winds will raise high waves on Lake Michigan. People drive out to see the ferocious waves, impressive for Lake Michigan, not so for the oceans. That has stopped the Lake Express season before. The Badger up in Ludington was built to brave the high waves, and yet it will go for repairs before November. 

The big lake will be left for sporty people in wetsuits, kite boarders who begin as soon as the ice clears and unsalted surfers who love the swells of November and December. Then, this lighthouse next to me, the South Breakwater light, will begin to grow a beard of ice.

Will Juntunen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DuneLight says, "Sounds like a nice day. I 'bobbed' about abit in the surf this morning. I LOVE when the waves are up and the water is warm. We had dinner at Dockers. The Band was AWEsome! I ended up shooting the same sunset but we were down at the Nina and Pinta.