Saturday, August 28, 2010

Watervale Withdrawl Disorder

I was running an errand early Friday evening when right in front of me appeared a beautiful sunset. The setting sun, unencumbered by clouds, was filling the clear blue sky with red and orange afterglow. It was stunning. Not Watervale stunning, but nice for Chicago.
My favorite Watervale 2010 Sunset picture. Nothing in Chicago compares.

As I continued to marvel at the beauty of nature, my body broke out in a cold sweat and I started to shake. My heart began to race. I started to hyperventilate.

You may be thinking that I was having a heart attack or having a seizure, but I assure you this was nothing new. This happens each time I return home from Watervale and it has a clinical name: Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™ (WWD). Anyone who's been to Watervale at least once knows what I'm talking about.

Watervale is an addiction and a heck of a habit to break.

What is Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™?

It's the whiff of fresh bread baking in the Inn as you walk through your kitchen, even though you've been home a week and haven't used the oven. It's the sight of Crème Brûlée on a restaurant menu and knowing it won't live up to Watervale Crème Brûlée (and that you don't have an awesome waiter named Pat who held one aside just for you for dessert, even though they ran out in the 6:00 dinner seating).
Not actual Watervale Crème Brûlée, although it looks very similar.

It's the feeling of sand between your toes, even though you live in a concrete jungle and never walk barefoot.
Toes in the Watervale sand. Easter Weekend 2010. Believe me, this doesn't happen in Chicago. The "sand" we have here doesn't feel as good under your toes. I don't know what it is, but it's not fine like the sand I'm used to.

It's the realization that not only do doors have locks, but you best use them. It's the phantom sound of waves lapping on the dock even though the only body of water you see is in your morning shower.

It's the throbbing and burning you get in the back of your calves when you're on the Stairmaster from Hell without the reward of the view from the top of Baldy to make the pain go away better than any pain management drug known to man.
Lake Michigan (left) and Lower Herring Lake (right) from the top of Baldy taken in April 2010. When you see this sight, suddenly you forget the burn in your calves and you can't wait to make the hike again. It's kind of like how I hear your body forgets the pain of childbirth so you'll do it again.

It's the tears that run down your face when you realize you can't go back for 11 1/2 months AND you have to make it through another Chicago winter first.

It's finding a rock that has the telltale signs of a Petosky Stone, licking it and realizing it's just a regular dirty rock.
The Petosky Stone Dave found on the face of Baldy and gave me. It's between the size of a golf ball and a baseball.

It's walking outside around midnight to stargaze and realizing that not only is Cassiopeia (aka the Watervale W™) not visible in the northeast sky, you can barely see the moon.
Cassiopeia, also known as the Watervale W™, for obvious reasons.

It's being confused when a friend invites you to go to the Outlet and you grab your bathing suit because you think you're going to the Outlet (and are pissed when you realize you're only going shopping for last season's discount clothes).
Nebraska Crossing Outlets in Nebraska (pic from Wikipedia) are definitely not . . .

. . . The Outlet.
Taken by Shari Noble, Aug. 28, 2010.
Click here for another of my favorite Outlet pictures. It truly illustrates how the Outlet links Lower Herring Lake and Lake Michigan. If you look closely, you can see Lower Herring Lake peaking out between the trees in the right half of the picture.

Unfortunately, Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™ is not curable. Of course, it's not terminal either, so there is some good news. I have found a few ways to deal with WWD including staying in close contact with Watervale friends via Facebook and in person, writing about Watervale on Little Merry Sunshine, drinking Michigan wines whenever possible, telling Watervale stories to anyone who will listen, curling up in my Watervale sweatshirts, displaying the collection of rocks I've found on the Big Beach, filling hurricane vases with Watervale sand (that I often run my fingers through) and a candle, wearing my charm bracelet filled with charms I've bought in Northern Michigan, and flipping through old scrapbooks.

Of course, the best cure for Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™ is to return to Watervale as soon as possible, which I've been trying to do a couple times a year since Dave now lives there permanently.

How do you cope with Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™?


  1. Your post literally brought tears to my eyes, as I experience WWD 51 weeks out of the year. This year was particularly bad, as we only had two, count 'em, TWO days in Watervale.

    Here are few of my own favorite Watervale pics:

    The Outlet:
    Big Lake washing over my feet:
    Lake bed pebbles distorted by water:
    Front porch in the morning:
    Adirondacks on the little lake beach:
    Elizabeth reading on the veranda before her shift:
    Fishing, early morning:
    Petoskey Stones awash in the Outlet:
    Sheets hanging out to dry:
    Eastern shore of LLH, taken from the Point:

    I'm in full Watervale Withdrawl Disorder™ mode now - nothing like longing for Up North when you're stuck in the deep south. Thanks for a wonderful post!

  2. I love your ideas for dealing with WWD. I have been trying to put a simple scrapbook together with all my thousands of pics but always end up feeling like I can't do Watervale justice. I live in Des Plaines and have been going there since I was 1-1/2! Had my honeymoon and 25th anniversary up there in my favorite cottage, The Hill and always look forward to my next visit. Its been 3 years for me now so the withdrawal is getting monumental! Thanks for your blog. Look forward to returning soon.


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