It is a rainy morning as I drive onto Presque Isle. A walk, if the rain at least slows a bit, is my goal. I will also try to record some of the autumn leaves making the park a wonderland of color while I am out here. A little more sun might be a big help. It is Wednesday and one of my days off. Of course, it is a day of rain, cold, and a vanishing sun; it seems never to fail. Yesterday while I was trapped in my office, the sun was shining brightly, and the temperature was 72.
I decide to stop at the Presque Isle Gallery at the foot of Peninsula Hill to snatch a cup of hot coffee. Yes, to me, it’s cold outside. Maybe a cup of coffee will help quash that spell of shivering that I know will certainly be coming when warm days of indian summer turn into the cool of fall. You see, I love weather when it is at least 70 degrees and dusted with a large helping of sun. Once the cold side of fall does actually arrive, my body seems to be able to make the necessary adjustments, however that two or three weeks between indian summer and fall turn on my hot coffee and tea overload.
Somewhere about the Sturgeon Bay parking lot, a small red car rockets past me at about 45 to 50 miles per hour. As you know, the speed limit on Presque Isle is 25. I just do not understand why people believe that they MUST drive that fast. Now I don’t mean they speed just on the park, because you see it in residential neighborhoods, too. It really is dangerous and certainly not necessary. Well, as I reach the Waterworks area, that little red car has attracted a big red flashing light. The dependable Park Rangers are busy gathering his license and other information. I have this great desire to stop and congratulate the ranger for a job well done.
Continuing on, I turn right onto Marina Road (Fisher Drive), and after about ½ mile, turn left onto a dirt access road to an area that fishermen use for shore fishing. This area is always a wonderful area to take photographs of the autumn leaves and wildlife. Putting a wide-angle lens on my camera, I walk and wade my way to a location that would allow me to record today’s colors best. The sun by now has peeked out from between three huge clouds and washes the far shoreline of Marina Lake in bright light.
I turn on the camera. All I get is a slow beep, beep, and beep. Sure. Always when things are JUST right. The x?xty? battery is low and needs charging. Luckily, I do have my small point and shoot camera back in the car. That’s right, back in the car.
I trudge back to the car. Yes, again through the water and mud, and retrieved the other camera. On my way back to the shooting location, the sun disappears behind the clouds. Not allowing myself to be defeated in my quest, I pull out my pipe and go to sit on a log. I am there for nearly 20 minutes when the sun decides to peek between the clouds and again light the area. When working with nature photography, patience is a virtue.
As long as I have been coming to Presque Isle and writing about and photographing the park, some things never seem to change. It almost always seems that when I am at work, the sun shines, it’s nice and warm and the bay and lake are as smooth as glass. On my days off, all hell breaks loose. The weather changes right on schedule. I get cold in the fall. I forget to bring something or to charge my camera batteries. Yes, some things never change, and that can be good too because the beauty and lore of Presque Isle also never changes. It just gets better and better. We are lucky to have Presque Isle handy, and more of us need to just take time to slow down and enjoy this natural wonder. Those of us that live in Erie MUST have something special here, after all, 4 million visitors a year cannot be wrong.
Take some time each week and make it a habit to visit Presque Isle and enjoy this treasure. Look for me out there and give me a wave.
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