Story and photos by: Brooke Telesky
Summer is full of so many new opportunities, so many new days. But there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than at the dunes with my family. Waking up, relaxing with my coffee outside on the back porch together, feeling the morning sun on my legs, we talk about the day ahead. Of course no matter what is suggested, we always go back to the beach. It is our summer home, lounging on the sand, cooling off in the Lake Michigan water. For as long as I can remember, that is where we have always gone on those summer days and nights.
Dad plays his summer playlist, songs now forever tied in my mind to those days at the dunes. “Brown Eyed Girl’, “Island In The Sun”, I don’t just hear these songs, but I feel them, feel the sun and the sand and the water. These memories won’t ever fade away. The memories of Mom and I walking right along the shoreline looking doggedly for seaglass, the water playfully splashing our feet. My cousin coming to visit, and us walking down the beach while the time, and miles, slipped by unnoticed. Hiking up the sides of the dunes with my sister to get a better view of the water and sand. Last summer I had surgery, and there wasn’t much I could do. The one thing I could do, though, was relax at the beach. I even went as far as to sit on a paddleboard and tool around in the water. The dunes have always been my go-to summer haven, for me and my family.
After a long day spent out in the sun, we often drive down the street to The Port. Rolling into a parking spot at the retro Drive-In and ordering a round of root beer floats transports us back in time. Afterwards we head back home, the sunset finishes off our perfect day with a golden glow.
Not only do the dunes offer us a place to relax in the summer months, but they also give us beautiful hiking paths and views in the winter. If the weather isn’t too bone chilling, we will drive down to the parking lot not far from the beginning of the trail and start our trek through the woods. It’s so refreshing and renewing to be surrounded by nature when most of winter we spend our time cooped up indoors. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a day in sweats with a fire going any wintry day, but I’ve learned that it’s good to embrace the weather you’re given.
In an age of growing technology, I think it’s important to find a healthy balance between the digital world and the world right outside our door. When my family and I are at the dunes, it’s a time for us to tuck our phones away and spend time with each other and nature.