Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School Expedition

It is September, and the marketing media has bombarded us with the phrase "Back to School", throughout its print, radio, and TV advertising campaigns. However, ever since my visit last year to the beautiful place shown on the photograph, hearing the phrase "Back to School", takes my mind "Back to Schoolhouse Beach"! I think one thing that makes Schoolhouse Beach so memorable to me, was the difficulty involved in getting there: Automobile drive to Branson Airport; flight to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; car rental in Milwaukee for drive several hours north to Door County, Wisconsin; boarding a ferry across Lake Michigan to Washington Island; boarding a tram on Washington Island that gave a circle tour of all that beautiful place had to offer---in particular, the memorable Schoolhouse Beach!!

There are lots of things about Schoolhouse Beach that make it memorable, not the least of which was the $250 fine PER ROCK, for removing any of their unusual beach stones, as warned in the sign at the bottom of this collage.

Even though we were not supposed to put any of the stones in our pocket to take home as a souvenir, kids (and adults, too!), were welcome to pick up the stones to toss into the water, to see if they could make them "skip" across the surface , in the age-old tradition of such activities. You might say that little children is how the beach got its name. That is because, in the mid 1800's, a log schoolhouse was built at the location, to educate the children of the hearty folks who inhabited Washington Island in those days. I found these words, written by Norbert Blei, on the Washington Island website ( ) that eloquently expressed my thoughts about the rocks on this beach: "Pick me up. Let me make a home in your hand. What purity of shape. Touch and feel. (But do not take, under penalty of fine.) Run your fingers around the smoothness, the satisfaction of being nothing more than stone. The wonder of white glowing within. Not another one like me in sight. Drop me, throw me elsewhere on the beach with a clack. Or pass me into the hands of a small child, to toss, to skip back to the blue waters where I was born. And will slowly make my way back to Schoolhouse Beach for generations to come, where historically, naturally I that garden of white stone."

In addition to the activities suggested in the quote above, visitors can create whatever sculptures they wanted to, and leave them there for the next group of visitors to admire. I speculated that whoever made this design was familiar with the Canadian province that has a similar symbol on its flag.

The first time I saw a stack of rocks like this one was in near-by Canada, and I was told it was an ancient tradition of the native American tribes to place markers similar to this, along their trails, to identify locations. So you might think of this design as a precursor to our bright green signs and "mile marker signs", seen on Interstate highways in North America!

It took a lot of storms and wave action to smooth out these limestone rocks to make them the shiny, white sculptures they are today. The heart-shaped rock shown in this photo, made me think of the Bible verse that says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV) I am thankful that through lots of storms and "wave action" in my own life, God is, slowly but surely, removing my heart of stone, and giving me a new heart and a new spirit! (Disclaimer: PBPWMGINFWMY! That is a reminder to: Please Be Patient With Me. God Is Not Finished With Me Yet! ) Now it is time for YOU to take a "Back to School Expedition"!! What do YOU think of when you hear that phrase??? Miles of smiles! Tricia

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