This abandoned farm in Oceana county sits parallel to Monroe Ave., eight miles due east of Pentwater, a small, mid-nineteenth century village whose summer cottages perch along the dunes overlooking Lake Michigan.
Next to the farm’s original entrance, a gravel road grown over with field grass and sand is still visible as are the imprints of tractor paths crisscrossing the land in faded depressions their vague intersections recordings of generations past. Goldenrod, milkweed, late summer asters, native Joe Pye, and other weeds and desiccated grasses languishing in the solitude of a late Indian summer, native flora advancing quietly, inexorably, consuming the landscape and family history. And strewn about in the foreground, waiting patiently, weathered stumps of cherry bleached by time and lake winds are all that remain of the farm’s orchard. Out of view, behind the camera, flames of scarlet sumac obscure the possible notice or contemplation for the few driving by.
I spent that late afternoon exploring, imagining the property and what remains, its productive, fecund days lost somewhere in the last century, its transient beauty and memories slowly absorbed into the landscape.