August 6, 2021

Rod and I made a brief trip to visit my first cousin Bonnie and her spouse Doug who live near Traverse City, MI. Bonnie had invited us to come to their home “Up North” in Michigan on numerous occasions, but it never seemed to fit with our schedules. Bonnie was close to my sister Jane but was unable to attend her memorial service and we both had stories we wanted to share in person. Since none of us are getting younger, the time was right to act on the invitation.

They live close to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and took us on a tour of the area. The dunes themselves are hundreds of feet tall. You can climb to the top of one, expecting to see Lake Michigan, only to discover that there are several more dunes between you and the coast. The view of islands, turquoise water, and Lake Michigan was amazing and would have been even more so if not for the hazy, smoky skies due to massive forest fires on the west coast.

We stood at the top of the overlook and from the top it appeared to be a straight drop from the edge straight into Lake Michigan some 450’ below. We saw people of all ages making their way down the bluff, some running and sliding, others proceeding with more care. Their way back to the top was slow-going, with many steps forward erased by sliding back down. 

Sleeping Bear Overlook

A sign at the top encouraged people to enjoy the view from the top, warned that the climb back up takes two hours and declared that rescues by the local fire department cost $2,800. Some people get injured on the way down, others find they don’t have the strength or stamina to make it back to the top. According to the Traverse City Record Eagle, “Forty-seven rescue operations were conducted in 2014 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, the vast majority at the overlook, more than at Yellowstone National Park (37) or Glacier National Park (34).” Who knew?

Would I have gone if I had the time? It sure looked tempting. But all I could think of were the words of an old hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking stand.” Those words come from something Jesus said. It goes like this, “The person who hears Jesus’ words and doesn’t act on them is like a foolish person built their house on sand, and when the rain and the flood and the wind came, the house fell down, and great was its fall. But the wise person listened to Jesus words and acted on them. That wise person built their house on solid rock.”

Choosing solid rock today. The great news is that it is free. ~ Anne

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