A Michigan Bookstore, Lighthouse and Beach


I was vacationing in northern Michigan for ten days this summer. But, on August 17th there was a special event at The Bookstore in the resort town, and Kay’s hometown, of Frankfort, Michigan. On that afternoon, about 40 friends, relatives and curious passerbys dropped in to meet me and find out about my latest book, The Reason for Flowers. I began my informal chat with a history of how I came to write the book and a bit of my background in entomology, flowers and pollinators. I also read three short passages of several minutes each. At the close of the presentation I answered questions and then signed books either brought by participants or purchased that day in The Bookstore. Of course, I got the usual questions about what’s happening to our bees, or what to do after a bee or wasp sting, but there were also several interactions that indicated that my book had hit its mark. People were fascinated by floral myths and legends and how my studies of pollinators and their flowers have taken me around the world. They were eager to learn about the diversity of flowers and how their intricate parts function in signaling pollinators and us, how we are all beguiled by their charms.

After all the questions were answered and most of the crowd had drifted off, it was time for our after party. This was a wonderful event orchestrated by Kay which allowed her to visit with many of her relatives, High School and college friends in one venue and all at once. The crowd spilled out of our Harbor Lights beach condo and onto the deck. As the drinks and snacks were eagerly devoured, many guests talked about Michigan summers and recreation (hiking, biking the Betsie trail, kayaking, beach combing for the Devonian coral fossils known as Petoskey stones, and salmon fishing) which we also love. Some conversations even turned to the bouquet of flowers on the table, or further questions about the book, writing, and science.

The rest of the trip was just as idyllic and picturesque. We walked the beach and breakwaters, watched the surf pound the Frankfort harbor breakwater, with waves reaching halfway up the lighthouse, found a few new Petoskey stones, bicycled and even caught a few elusive Chinook (King salmon) and lake trout. They’ve been delicious smoked and on the grill at home in Tucson.

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