This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
Clop, clop, clop—the sound of the horses’ hooves as they pulled the wagon taxi carrying me around Mackinac Island, Michigan last week. It was the time of the Lilac Festival during which all of the lilac bushes covering the island in their various colors and hues perform for the tourists. It seemed that every hotel, restaurant, park, private home and anywhere else something could be planted had its own lilac bushes for passersby to admire, sniff, and use as a backdrop to pose for photos.
The island is supported by tourism. However, despite the thousands who descend each year, it has been kept pristine and is a little step back in history. No cars are allowed. All transportation is accomplished by horse drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and good old-fashioned walking. Humans with pooper scoopers as well as machines pulled by draft horses, Belgians and Percherons mostly, ply the roads gathering the equine droppings. They are then composted and spread throughout the island to assist in the growth of those magnificent lilacs as well as other flora.
Here’s another fact that grabbed my interest. The three-mile-long body of water to the closest mainland freezes shortly after Christmas forming what the locals call the “ice bridge.” The full-time residents have created a folk remedy of sorts to delineate the path as they traverse it atop their snowmobiles. People simply save their Christmas trees which are then set up on the ice to mark the route.
Yes, the five-hundred full-time islanders certainly do enjoy modern lifestyles that technology has brought to all of us. However, they seem to have found some simple solutions to their unique challenges. My little peek through their keyhole tells me that they have a less stressful, less emotionally demanding cadence to their lives than we in the big cities experience.
My auditory sense relaxed in the replacement of engine noise with the resonance of the horses’ steps as they went about their duties. I like that their emissions help the life cycle unlike that of automobiles that only contribute their noxious gases to the destruction of our planet. Is progress really all it’s touted to be? Can we learn from Mackinac Island residents? Might a return to simpler times and simpler ways be the answer to our angst?
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