It’s funny how you can live somewhere for a long time and never see some of the local natural beauty a place has to offer. A day trip to Luna Pier, Michigan was long in order for me, with a meander through Temperance on my way to find the shore.
Public access to the beach in Luna Pier is available for a small parking fee, which I happily paid as my contribution to the upkeep of the area. The lighthouse museum was closed for the season, but it stood as a stoic beacon overlooking the beach. Walking out to the pier, I was delighted to see a commemorative sign announcing this region as part of Byways to Flyways, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife program that aims to restore the ecosystem for birds migrating through one of the major migration corridors on the North American continent. The lake, of course, was its usual late winter turbid surly character, as my stroll out on the pier revealed.
There were several other people who braved the cold winds to enjoy the view. There was a quiet camaraderie among us, those who would choose a bit of discomfort to experience the serenity of being near shore, to nurture kinship with nature.
Luna Pier is a small community that has found a small patch of heaven. There is a small café near the beach, and I am fairly certain I will be one of the first to walk in their doors once they open for the season. A leisurely day seaside will likely bring numerous opportunities to photograph the ocean freightliners as they navigate their way through the lake channels. Some of them will go to the ports of Monroe and Detroit, and some will travel onward north through the upper Great Lakes and go as far as Duluth, Milwaukee and Chicago.
From Luna Pier you can see both Enrico Fermi (in Monroe, MI) and Davis-Besse (near Oak Harbor, OH) nuclear power plants. It is a quiet reminder that this region carries with it risks that we would rather not think about. In the meantime, the water churns with sediment, challenging us to examine our ways of living in the world, to decide what we value about our environment.