Let sleeping labs lie, at Mackinac Island, Michigan.
The first thing you notice is the cats. There are some many, and all feral, but not so nervous that they scatter on approach.
No, these cats have seen things. Done things they’re not proud of.
I heard a story about this place. A friend from work misplaced his iPhone, and Find My iPhone placed in here – dead-center in the middle of this abandoned plant.
“Don’t go in there,” a police officer advised him. “Not even we go in there.”
The silly, destructive side of me wants to slip through the fence to get a look. But there’s just enough caution in me to steer clear.
So I walk around a bit, and grab some shots. The caved-in wall. The brick work.
Before the polar vortex, there was the ice storm.
Some hanging-on oak leaves in my backyard.
We here in Michigan were walloped this weekend – bitter cold, freezing winds, and tons of snowfall.
So what better to do than head out and grab some photos?
Below-zero temperatures and a hazy cloud cover made for some lovely light, especially around sunset. During the day, I had to head out and shovel my driveway, and grabbed some images while knee-deep in snow.
To cool off (ha!), I took a walk down the road to see what the rest of the neighborhood looked like. Luckily most of my neighborhood roads were plowed, but some areas were still untouched.
I didn’t get very far down the road before the conditions turned me back home. But weather like this doesn’t happen like it used to, even here in Michigan.
So why not capture the day?
A view back from when life was a little warmer, sunnier, and colorful.
But that’s the thing about living in a place like Michigan: each season has its own beauty, and its own reason for being.
It’s really winter now. The high temperatures have been in the 15-20 F range, and the snow and ice are starting to stick around.
Nothing will grow until March. There will be nothing on the trees until April. Any sunny day is the best Michigan will look for a few months now.
Despite the bitter cold, I do enjoy getting out when it’s sunny and taking photos. The slants of light, the position of the sun – everything is different this time of year. It looks like winter.
So it was with these faded milkweed plants. The sun was setting and lighting the cotton in a wonderful way. It was one of those pull-the-car-over moments.
Even though the wind chill is about zero, and the snow is starting to blow, there’s still beauty out there.
Albion, Michigan is one of those towns that was hit hard by the flight of rust belt industry. One big employer leaves and the whole town gasps.
There’s the college. And a few taverns to grab a bite to eat. A few manufacturers here and there.
But there’s also quite a few of abandoned spots in town – a glimpse at what this place used to look like, not so long ago.
Some of these structures were built to last. Strong brick and wood. It probably means they’ll last for decades.
They’ll probably outlast their original owners.
But others? The paint’s peeling. The wood is splintering. The glass is shattering.
It’s all going to hell, fading in the sun and the seasons.
There’s that old adage about one broken window in a neighborhood can’t be tolerated, or else more will appear. Here, though, people just drive past.
Jesus fading in the window. Boards protecting the inside from the sun’s rays and onlookers’ curiosity.
I don’t see this stuff as ruin porn or a fetishization of the Rust Belt Economy that’s dying (or in some places, dead). For me, it’s cool history.
Some of these places have a story, and lives attached to them. Who were they? What did they do here? How long did they hold out? Where are they now?