Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Better by far by sea than by land

Last year, I intuited that entering a village by harbor is superior to driving into town. Now I can affirm that last year's hunch is correct! Today using my brother Bob's Ford Pickup, I drove Mark from White Lake to the Amtrak Station in Holland for his journey back to Chicago.

Then I decided to visit Grand Haven on the way back. Last year we arrived in Grand Haven on Speakeasy. We entered through the channel with the red lighthouse on our right. In the USA it's always "red right returning." We found our slip at the Grand Haven Yacht Club. We visited the Farmers' Market (Mark's rallying call, "We're out of pie!"), checked out the local museum, walked the beach, took the trolley. But most importantly, we entered from the big lake.

Sure there are charts and GPS. They don't compare to looking for a lighthouse. Miles away, we're unsure. Is that the entrance in the distance? On the interstate, you just speed by reading "Grand Haven Five Miles."

But out in the lake, we search for lighthouses and markers. As we approach the channel entrance, we check the wind and the current. As we enter, the board walk or the rocky walls wrap us in their protective arms. The waves subside. We can breathe. Then we motor up the channel. Perhaps we pass a coast guard station or a DNA research facility. We see people. And they wave. What a welcome! It's like coming home. It happens over and over again. From Harbor to Harbor.
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