Monday, October 19, 2009

A Return to Gray

As the Buick LeSabre trundled us back to my home in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, bringing my three-day sojourn to the Lake Superior coast to a close, I was assaulted in the eyeball with increasing amounts of gray. I was unsure where to place the blame for this.

Could it have been psychological? The very tail end of a vacation, like a skunk's, is always the least fun. The most emotionally bland. Time to put on the cruise control and barge all the way back home, where live my responsibilities and cats.

"They're going to have pooped on the floor. I just know it," I said to my girlfriend/navigator/travel planner.

"Your responsibilities poop on the floor? How very impossible of them. Or were you being metaphorical?"

I suppose that would have worked either way. Moving on.

The resurgence of the Gray Army could also be put down to simple geography and social engineering: there's just more people and cars and buildings in the L.P. More pollution of every variety leads to an increase in smudgy, slate-coloredness.

Too simple. There has to be more going on behind this North-South gray-dient, and I think I have it.


The ones in the LP are sort of brownish, and the ones up North are black. Coincidence? I think not. The Upper Peninsula squirrels are absorbing the gray! They're like twitchy little smog sponges, and they perform this miracle seemingly without any ill effects on their own physiology. I think we need to scoop up a bunch of them and ship 'em down here. If we just sprinkled a trail of stale graham crackers along the edges of the Mackinac Bridge, they would ship themselves, even.

I did remember to bring my camera and its batteries and memory cards, which is fortunate, as photography was the major impulse behind the trip. I was like a DSLR ninja up there. I swooped in and snatched about nine and a half gigabytes of pictures, and left before the stunned vistas knew what just captured them.

The pictures themselves? Well, I'm glad you asked! They are to be part of a project I'm working on--a picture book. But not the kind you'd give your sticky little toddlers. No, this is going to be a stunningly-rendered, full-color pictureography of my glorious two-landmassed state, complete with a vibrant historical account told through the keyboard of an octogenarian.

In other words, it will be stunning and full color, but the rest will be total and utter falsehood. I can guarantee that it will at least be entertaining falsehood, so everyone should definitely start saving money for their own eight copies when they're available. Personally, as this project combines two of my favoritest things (photography and making crap up), I cannot wait for it to be completed.

Now...back to Photoshop.


  1. I fell off my chair when your responsibilities pooped.

    I should inform you though, that there is a small passle of black squirrels (herd? pack? murder?) right here in Ann Arbor, because you see, reality doesn't come here. Those little puppies DO in fact absorb the grey (unfortunately not the cold)--we see some lovely blue sometimes, but they won't go where reality treads.

    By the way, the stick museum is moving, so you ought to get here soon, before you miss it.

  2. I seriously can't wait to see this book of yours.

    Also, I think it's no coincidence that there are black squirrels in Grand Haven, too. And we know how spiffy Grand Haven is. I think your theory has credence. I'm going with it, anyway.


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