Christie’s Chronicles: These are a few of my favorite things

Christie Mastric

I don’t care how much you feel at home in an area or how long you’ve lived there. Some spots will hold more of an attraction than others.

Take me, for instance. I love a lot of places in Marquette County and other regions in the Upper Peninsula, but Chocolay Township holds a special place in my heart. I think it’s the sandy “jack pine-niness” of the area, although the sand can be problematic.

A few years back, as the intrepid reporter than I was and hopefully still am, I was sent out to track down a possible brush fire in the eastern part of the township, or just out of its boundaries. Anyway, It turned out to be not a blaze, but, I suspect, a “sand devil” that was stirring up everything.

As I recall, the devil was located not too far off M-28, so maybe a passerby saw dust, mistook it for smoke and called the fire department, which was understandable and maybe the responsible thing to do. It reminded me of a version of hell in a “Twilight Zone” episode called “The Hunt,” with only smoke as a clue to the evil that was off in the distance.

I’m a big TZ fan, so maybe that’s why this minor incident sticks with me.

Anyway, Chocolay Township survived the alleged sand devil and remains intact to the best of my knowledge.

Speaking of M-28, I don’t get out to Lakenenland Sculpture Park as much as I would like, but I plan to make more trips in 2023. My first goal is to not add extra syllables to the name, and refrain from saying “Lakenenenenland.” My second goal is to leisurely walk by the whimsical metal creations you can’t see anywhere else and really enjoy them, and perhaps let my imagination run wild. Would they resemble something out of an “Outer Limits” episode? (OK, not TZ, but close.)

Another favorite place of mine is the small garden located in the Keweenaw Peninsula mining ghost town of Central, located off U.S. 41. Along with the mining ruins, which spur the imagination, it has renovated buildings, trails with thimbleberries and a visitor center. However, the small garden is this little oasis in the middle of historic buildings and wilderness, and I’m a sucker for little oases.

Some people love large, wild spaces, and so do I. But I often appreciate the tiny spots more.

Unfortunately, I don’t get up to this area much, so when I do, I have to pack a lot of thoughts and ruminations in a short time. Maybe that’s partly why I love the small spaces.

Streets even fall into this category. Take Second Street in the city of Marquette, for example. It’s really only a few blocks long, and to some might even border on being a dead end road.

But this length-challenged street is charming, with unique bungalows and an all-around cozy feel. I used make a point of driving my dogs to this street, getting out of my car and walking them up and down the blocks, always being careful to park carefully and pick up after them.

Unfortunately, one of my dogs passed a little over a year ago, and my surviving dog can barely get around. Maybe sometime in the not-too-distant future I’ll drive myself over to Second Street for a brief solo walk.

So, to any Second Street resident who sees a short woman apparently aimlessly walking up and down the street, fear not. I have only the most passive of intentions.

This seems to apply to the inside of abodes for me as well. My sister lives in a fairly large house in a western Chicago suburb, and I overheard her talk once about the one room they don’t use as much the others: the living room. It’s not the same as the family room, or the room with the computer, or the kitchen or the bedrooms. It’s more like a sitting area.

Yet, a few Christmases ago, I found myself lying on the coach and looking at the furniture and the art on the walls, with no deep thoughts running through my brain. Someone walked by me, and as I recall, I said, “I like to veg in here.”

Nothing was expected of me. I didn’t have to talk with anybody or listen to them, or get involved in a movie. Not that those activities are a waste of time — I have been known to socialize — but the small living room was a good spot for a respite.

So, I suppose my list of favorite things tends to be small-scale stuff, or stuff off the beaten path. Maybe it’s because I and I alone am there to appreciate it in solitude.


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