Monday, June 01, 2009

Saugatuck Michigan End of May

Visited somewhere this weekend I've never been before -- Saugatuck, Michigan. Joined friends Maura and Jim, and husband Carlos, to what we thought would be a summer-soaked climate by now. However, I found myself wearing the jeans and two long-sleeved shirts I brought along in the brisk air, leaving shorts and tank tops in the suitcase. But it worked out fine.

The weekend ended up a serendipitous split between new spiritual experiences and experiences of the fermented kind. On Saturday, we did the usual Butler Street promenade and tasted a few wines at the Fenn Valley Shop in town. Let's just say the the Pinot Noir looked a tad clear and the hue of a rose', with a back flavor of some sort of hard liquor. To put it in a mild fashion, Michigan wines are not my favorite.

On the other hand, the beers we sampled at the Saugatuck Brewing Company microbrewery in Douglas, Michigan, were a delightful surprise, particularly the Main Street Wheat, 5.5% alcohol content. Carlos preferred the Ramblin Amber, 4.7% alcohol content. Diehard beer lovers can actually brew their own 11-gallon batch of beer at the brewery, which takes a period of two weeks. Learned an interesting factoid from the bartender: Guiness Stout has fewer calories than Bud Light.

On Sunday, we visited a Seventh-Day Adventist enclave in Pullman, Michigan, which includes some communal housing, a church, a natural foods warehouse and retail store called Country Life Natural Foods. The helpful, knowlegeable, warm ladies who greeted us made it even more of a pleasure.
Afterward, we headed west to Ganges, Michigan, to take part in an interfaith community service at Mother's Trust. Strangely, I had had a dream about this church a few months ago, not knowing where it was located. As soon as I saw it, I recognized it, and when one of Jim's friends out-of-the-blue encouraged us to go and actually took us there, I suppose my dream came to fruition. A former nun gave an enlightening talk on St. John of the Cross, and another parishioner held a 40-minute service on how eight different religions view the concept of mysticism, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Native religions, in addition to Christianity, which included a reading of a poem by St. Teresa of Avila.

Before heading back to Chicago, we took a long walk with three dogs (see Carlos and Speedy) through the Fenn Valley Winery vineyards, close to where we were staying in Fennville. Glad to note that the numerous sun-filled rows of vines were at the same stage of development as the three little ones I'm trying to nurture in my backyard. Happy for the confirmation, since I hoped I was doing something right.



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