A deep map of Eastport

Posted on December 31, 2009


Eastport 1926 from Bud Klooster

Just when you think there’s nothing to write about, a reader’s email starts a long chain of associations that leads you to William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyEarth (a deep map).  The post isn’t written—not by a long shot—but you have some little ideas and no clue where they’ll lead. 

Eastport 2009

Let’s begin with the email:

Helping my 10 year old daughter do a project for school called Michigan city and she chose to do Eastport where our family has a cabin and several family members . . .  still live around the area but we are having dificulty finding good websites to help her find what she needs . . . .

Wait, wait . . . Torch Lake Views is a good website where many nuggets of valuable information about Eastport are stored!  History, weather, the arts, local businesses, flora, fauna, environmental issues, agriculture, government, people and their stories, dogs and their stories—it’s all here somewhere.  Rummage around.

While we could make a few phone calls and all her research would be done we would like for her to work for her answers and learn how to research on her own . . .

This part is good.  I was beginning to be concerned that Dad was going to do Daughter’s homework.  I am in favor of having ten year olds do their own homework.

. . . so reading through parts of Torch Lake Views we were hoping you may have a few ideas of websites that would help her in researching.

Wait, wait—this is beginning to sound suspiciously like Dad wants me to do Daughter’s homework.  Nope.  I have all I can do to keep up as it is.  However, I am grateful that Dad gave me a topic to write about on a gray day when I missed a perfectly wonderful photo opportunity because my memory card was full.  I therefore offer a little lesson in using Torch Lake Views to find out good stuff. 

  • Click on the links over in the right column for current information in these categories: Community Organizations, In Business in Torch Lake Township, Parks and Trails, Local Government and Schools.  Some of the links are to websites where you can learn a lot more.  Others are to pages on Torch Lake Views.  Either way, you will have to decide what you’re interested in finding out, and you’ll have to read a lot of different things to get to it.  That’s what research is.  Pawing through piles of information to find something useful.
  • Explore the tabs along the top, especially About us and Ourstory, to learn more about Eastport past and present.
  • Look at the Weather Widget to find out what the weather is like here right now, and click on it to get to more local climate history than you can probably use.
  • Use the Search feature over there in the right column, right under the Weather Widget.   Where it says “Search” type in a word or phrase that describes whatever you’re interested in, press “Enter,” and a list of posts will appear that have the word or phrase in them.  Sometimes they’ll be useful, sometimes they’ll be silly.  That’s how research goes some days. 

Now here’s a really good idea for Daughter.  Since you have a cabin here, I imagine that you have many memories and stories of your own to tell, as well as photos or drawings that would illustrate them.  Your experiences of this place are part of it, too.  And that is what makes a small dot on the map of northern lower Michigan so absorbing.  Look deeply into any place and you will discover wonders beyond measure.  Begin your own deep map of a place you love.  Be quiet and look.  Listen.  Then write.  Let me know what you come up with.  Maybe you’d even like to put it in the Ourstory archive.

(For those of you who would like to read more about PrairyErth and its deep map, I recommend Kevin Forsyth’s review.)