"Michigan's Thumb Comes Alive"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, May 27, 2016

In the fall, as leaves turn color and the warmth drops, the beauty of our state begins to diminish for many of us. Breathtaking views of leaves blanketing the lawns cause the group known as “snowbirds” to flutter around.

They know the blanket of leaves will soon turn white as the temperatures drop below their comfort level. Once the weather reports mention 32 degrees many flocks begin to gather. Some can be observed in “V” formations as they make daily practice flights preparing for their winter trips. Robins and hummingbirds disappear as do the snowbirds. Critters in the woods and forest quickly change coats and gather together in herds.

As winter advances, the snowbirds prepare their homes for the changing season. Some shut their homes down completely while others just make them ready for freezing temperatures. Winter residents, strong enough to enjoy the cold, head out to shop for heavy clothing. They look forward to enjoying Mother Nature’s toughest season and the prospect of going ice fishing. Those headed south are assured open arms are waiting in the warmer states to greet them.

One thing is certain about all the snowbirds — they are just as anxious to return, especially those who are from Michigan. There is nothing prettier than the Thumb in springtime. Color bursts from trees along the roadsides. Forsythia, dogwood and magnolia join with apple, plum and cherry to present a Technicolor parade.

Many farm fields, with rich earth plowed, are being prepared for seeding and others have green waves of winter wheat that cover the landscape. Everywhere there are displays of flower gardens planted with annuals of daffodils and tulips bursting out of their beds.

Those of us who live in the Thumb enjoy many beautiful sights as our small towns come alive in the spring. Waterfront marinas are cleaning up and boats are beginning to line the docks. State and county parks are bustling with last minute trimming and grooming awaiting the crowds of campers. Soon twinkling campfires will be seen through the trees as we pass by the roadside parks.

Beautiful Lake Huron, a backdrop for all the activity, lies in wait for the action if weather allows boaters and anglers to cruise her depths. Each town’s farmer’s market will greet venders and shoppers alike displaying crafts created during the winter hiatus.

Memorial Day parades and ceremonies will take place to honor all those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Families will gather together to kick off the summer with outdoor barbecues. Eateries all around the Thumb are opening, prepared to please the taste buds of those seeking burgers or seafood. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the Thumb Art Guild’s spring sale in Port Austin and the “Lady Slipper” event at the Nature Center in Oak Beach.

A word to drivers, our wildlife are out and running but they are not prepared to encounter heavier traffic so be extra cautious as you travel the roads.

Let’s all enjoy the beginning of a great summer and be sure to welcome all our visitors with warm greetings.

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