Memorial Day has arrived and I have my bare feet on a deck overlooking the Muskegon River, and it's the final reach of the river. The river becomes a lake here, vanishes into the lake. I am thinking about staying near my home this holiday, walking places. I drove three hundred miles last weekend and loved to feel the wheels rolling under my feet, one on the floor and one on the gas. I like driving because driving limits the number of decisions I have to make right away, limited to stop or go, left or right. Staying home makes all decisions possible, paint the walls, return calls or schedule shoulder surgery. I could make good with a three day weekend filled with decisions that I followed with an iron will. One decision is this. Drop the good people who maintain this river walk a check in the mail so that the collapsing section can be repaired. Maybe even help the group find people who might dig into their pockets and throw a few dollars into the pot. Those repairs are going to take time and money, and it's fun to spread the word.
I just saw a waterfowl with an unbelievably wide wingspan, all in white, fly toward the lake. I cannot imagine that's a swan as I saw no flash of an orange nose or a black nose bulb. Birds are a delightful fact of this outpost over the marshy, thick with cattails riverbank. I can pick out ten different kinds of song, each breed sounding like a different musical instrument in a symphony. I'm greedy as I wish I were seeing more. I think I saw a bald eagle descend into the fly ash ponds of the power plant across the river.
Kayaks are also a fact of this passage where a slowing river has created delta islands. Cheery to see the low-in-the-water crafts glide on by, and I am reminded of seeing good kayaks on sale at Kmart two months ago. Rather regretting my decision to skip purchasing them right that very minute. I would want a pair, right, one for a friend invited along. I can see where Kayak companies put in their craft on the lagoons of the memorial parkway, each lagoon leading to the main branch of the Muskegon. This is a land of delta islands and three branches of the Muskegon make their way through to the lake named for the city. The Kayakers from a few minutes ago went up a smaller branch. Sound is carrying: "We hung our hammocks right there last year". There is behind a shore of riprap laid down by the power company.
This will be my eight summer in Muskegon, and I have called this town my home a sixth of my life. I lived on my parent's farm for ten. I lived with the mother of my daughter for almost ten. This makes third place as the place where I spent much of my life. From here, I can see the tall buildings of Muskegon, and they appear like toys. The Amazon Building has low rent housing and rumor has it that the company that owns it has slipped towards insolvency. Hard to read that fact as it spins. Muskegon real estate might be heating up and a bankruptcy might allow for the low rent mission to be dumped. Once, a night in the ten or more floor tall Shoreline Inn cost less than fifty dollars. The hotel has asked one hundred and fifty dollars a night for a weekend in the middle of July. I made different plans for my visitors. A colossal church downtown sold to its neighboring church for twenty-five thousand dollars. A former Holiday Inn on the business route into town sold for about the same money. It's still close to the bottom of the market. What do I want to buy? Living on a houseboat isn't going to happen sooner than I'll want to move from my current home. It's a three day weekend of decisions.
I just saw a blue heron being harried by two black birds the size of sparrows, sending the heron on a flight toward North Muskegon. Usually the harriers chase raptors. Maybe the blue heron isn't above sneaking his beak into a nest, puncturing eggs and sipping yokes, flipping hatchlings into the air to swallow as easily as a slimy, scaly minnow? I hope the bats get after the mosquitoes as the water level is up on Lake Muskegon and that usually means more places for mosquito eggs to hatch.
The fishermen work this wooden walkway; it was party paid for by money from a Great Lakes Fisheries trust. I see two buddies making their way to one of the fishing platforms, one of them a wheeler, his equipment in a basket attached to the back of his wheelchair. He has strong arms and he moves strongly up inclines of the boardwalk. The plastic bag attached below his chair hasn't collected any yellow fluid. I wish them luck on their fishing as I make the walk back to my car on the south side of the river.
Today, I was waiting in line to buy two sticks of anti-perspirent. I seem to lose those handy grooming items in suitcases and hotel room dressers. Still have enough sap in my system to require daily applications of be-oderant. The sap, so to speak, has ebbed, or so says a test presented to me by my urologist. I'm not Methuselah. I won't feel virile at nine hundred years of age. Heck, I doubt I'll feel in 2063, which will be the hundredth anniversary of my birthday. The man before me was leaning against the counter, buying a newspaper, and he struck up a conversation with me. I was wishing a friend in line a Happy Memorial Day and he was a veteran of World War II, and was glad he said so. I thanked him for his service. Heck, I wanted to thank him for still being elder, myself a candidate just now for the AARP.
"It's just too bad I have neuropathy now. I have to lean against things to stand, a counter, a shopping cart, a cane. I was an athlete once, you know". His cane, a hand carved cypress root, awaited in the cart.
Not knowing what to say, I responded, "You are in a way. It's powerful to see how you have stayed on your feet".
"Yes, it's the same a climbing a mountain". I agreed. He tooted from his van as he departed the parking lot