My family is blessed to own property on a beautiful island in northern Lake Michigan. While it is the largest island in Lake Michigan, Beaver Island is not exactly brimming with activities or tourist attractions like Great Britain in the Atlantic, or Australia or Hawaii in the Pacific. It is a place to unwind from stress and be at peace with nature and yourself. A time to reflect and live in the moment and not be bogged down by stress, deadlines, and time constraints.

That being said, there are a few touristy things you can do that will really blow you away. Like climb a 200 year old tree. Or even better yet: climb a boulder that was unearthed 200 years ago and sit at the top, declaring to anyone in earshot, “I am king/queen of the rock!” Yep, we know how to live it up on Beaver Island.

For fun, my family took the “tour” of the island this last July. We climbed and posed in the tree, and then we got to the rock. “I’m going to climb it,” I told my family. 

My mom and sister had concerns. I’m not athletic, I was wearing sandals, not sneakers with traction, etc. My dad, whose 64th birthday we were celebrating, also decided to climb it. He was also met with voices of concern from my mom and sister, which he waved away. With a running start on the ground, he walked nearly 90 degrees up to the top, hooting and hollering as he went.

Made even braver by my father’s success, I braced myself to climb. I backed up as my dad had and started my ascent. But my sandals did indeed slip as my mother had postulated, and I slid back down. Not defeated, I tried again. I made it further up the side, but my leg and core muscles could not get me all the way to the top. I felt gravity dragging me backwards, so I quickly scampered down instead.

Undaunted, I started circling the boulder. Perhaps there would be an easier way to mount the mammoth rock from another angle. And there in the back of this colossus was a much smaller stone perched atop a solid piece of lumber, creating steps to the top. Encouraged, I hopped onto the wood then the stone, and then I stretched my long legs into a niche in the granite’s side and hefted myself up the rest of the way. Success! 

Folks, throughout your life you will come across “boulders,” obstacles that are big and from certain sides, insurmountable. Maybe you’ll watch someone else tackle the same problem with ease and think to yourself, “I can do that!” Or maybe you’ll be plagued by self-doubt or voices from well-meaning family and friends telling you not to do it. Maybe outside forces beyond your control will prevent you from getting to your goal. Maybe you’ll try several times to excavate this “boulder” only to fail.

I hope whatever happens, you remember to view your boulder from all angles. There might be a creative solution to your problem that you didn’t originally think of! No matter what you do, don’t give up! Keep on fighting until you get to the top and can shout, “I’m the king/queen of this rock!”

Happy climbing.


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