Sept 1, 2017
from Chicago by Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
Joe Writes . . .
Carl Sandburg loved Chicago. The first stanza of his poem by that name provides evidence of that affection and a vivid description of Lake Michigan’s great city in 1914, when the poem was published. Read the entire poem here. Chicago is a wonderful, accessible poem. So much poetry now seems to be written by one graduate student for the exclusive comprehension by and enjoyment of other graduate students . . . but I digress.
I once I taught high school English and we referred to Sandburg’s technique as a “stacking of images.” Students seemed to enjoy stacking images of their own creation about a place that they loved. Tom and I have been toying with Sandburgian images of our own , stacking images of the Grand. So far the results have tended towards the silly (Carp Grower for the Big Lake, Heart Breaker of Paddlers, River of Fallen Trees, Provider of Comfort to Mediocre Restaurants) but I am beginning to think this a worthy exercise, deserving of more serious effort as we continue down the Grand.
I downloaded a new app (Downloader of Apps) called Map My Hike which, along with measuring the distance we paddle and creating a map thereof, purports to calculate the number of calories burned on each excursion. Yesterday the app reported we traveled 7.88 miles in about 3 hours and 20 minutes of active paddling and that I burned 1,420 calories while doing so. Lord, I hope that’s correct! By way of comparison, the display on the elliptical machine at Planet Fitness tells me I burn 10 calories per minute at level 5. If that is accurate, it would take me 2 hours and 22 minutes to burn 1,420 calories on the elliptical machine but I would be dead long before I reached that goal. I am on a program to reach a certain weight by Thanksgiving and I need all the calorie burning I can muster as I am already falling behind schedule.
Trump Territory: Danger Ahead?
After our next outing we will have traveled all segments of the river from Eaton Rapids to Grand Ledge. From Grand Ledge on we will be traveling through Trump Territory and communication may be sporadic. At night we will form a triangle with our canoe and the two vehicles and sleep in the protection of that enclosure, so access to the internet is by no means guaranteed. While government agents assure us the plains are peaceful, we have learned from experience that caution is always advised and that the situation can change in a heartbeat. All it takes is for Sean Hannity to report the inane utterance of one Hollywood liberal – or for someone to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” – and the marauding and plundering begin again. Pray for us.
Tom Writes . . .
September 1, 2017 – Dimondale to the southern border of Lansing
It was a cold morning for this time of year, about fifty degrees Fahrenheit, which equals about 10 degrees Celsius. Definitely autumn morning temperature, even though it still looked like a summer morning.
We got started without getting very wet. We paddled and made progress against the breeze. The river is wide in this section, widened by the dam up ahead, in Lansing. That dam makes the river spread out, into a shallow lake-like configuration.
You can read a little about that dam in one of our previous posts. One thing about that dam in Lansing is that it actually stinks, in an olfactory sense. In general, Joe and I advocate removal of that particular dam, and all dams along our Grand River.
Today’s paddle from Dimondale to Lansing is mostly suburban Lansing. Many houses along here. Some of them are magnificent littoral mansions, but most are just regular American homes. However, there also are half a dozen parks in this section. It is a good mix of civilization and wild.
If you have read us before, you know that we particularly like the herons on the river. This stretch appears to be wonderful heron habitat. We saw maybe twenty Great Blue Herons, plus an Egret, maybe.
A small dragonfly got into my car, and rode all the way back from Lansing to Grand Rapids with me, seventy-five miles. I let it out of the car when I got home. I hope it finds friends and lovers and a happy life over here.
Contact Us: Joe@lengthofthegrand.com; Tom@lengthofthegrand.com
Join Us: BYOC/K (bring your own canoe/kayak). Our next trip will be from Grand River Park in Lansing to the dam/fishladder downtown, after which we plan to close out the season by backtracking to a few spots we skipped last year in Jackson County.