There are a lot of beautiful places in my home state. Recently, one of them was named the Most Beautiful Place in America.
Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore is situated in the Northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The unique terrain, marked by lakes, streams, forests, sugar sand beaches, and towering dunes was carved by glaciers. But the Chippewa tell a different story.
According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear’s determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The “bear” was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. (Source)
There, now you can say you learned something today. Heh.
As a child, I visited Sleeping Bear with my family. Early in the trip, I got sand in my eyes and, honestly, that was all I remember from that particular vacation. When I was in college, some friends and I went snowshoeing there. I remember it being a tough hike, especially since I had never been on snowshoes before. When we made it to the top of the bluff, the view of Lake Michigan was amazing. I took some snapshots on my old bottom-of-the-line 35mm camera, and they didn’t even begin to do the scene justice. This is a place that just has to be seen (preferably without sand in one’s eyes) to be believed.
This little illustration certainly doesn’t do it justice either. As much as I liked the concept, I just couldn’t seem to get it to work the way I wanted it to. I plan to revisit it in the future though, as I have some ideas about changing the perspective, etc.
I have also come to the conclusion that I need a new scanner. This version looks nothing like the original illustration and I place the blame squarely on my scanner. If anyone has any recommendations for a good, reasonably-priced scanner that can scan watercolors well, please do let me know.