For anyone not in the loop, there is a place called “Up North” in Michigan. There is probably a place called Up North in other states as well, but I have a difficult time imagining that it has earned quite the Proper Noun Status as Up North, Michigan. It’s something of an institution in the nomenclature here. That being said, if you’d like to know exactly where Up North is, don’t ask, because nobody knows. Or rather, everyone knows but no one agrees. Like pornography, they know it when they see it. Everyone would agree that Traverse City is Up North. Well, everyone from the lower peninsula anyway. But ask a fellow if Ludington falls within the fabled confines and you’ll draw mixed remarks.
If you go far enough back in history there was a time when anything north of Detroit was considered Up North, with US-12 the acting boundary between civilization and wild frontier (Bear in mind, there is an average of only about 25 miles of real estate between US-12 and the Ohio/Indiana border). Nowadays, I’d say a safer analog would be M-10, but I still might prefer an even more selective designation (I used to say, “Wherever the black bears aren’t,” but apparently that is far less discriminatory than I was able to appreciate). All of this is, of course, just a very roundabout way of telling you that I went Up North last week (Frankfort, if you are interested) and that I saw an opportunity for a mini rant regarding perhaps the most general of Michigan’s many mythic regionalities.
As is fitting of a late evening journey Up North –mysterious place as it has been above described– my compatriot and I encountered some curious –if not epic– doom-type meteorological events at the outset of our trip, not far north of Ann Arbor. It was documented on an iphone and later cut and assembled into the video embedded below. This was all accomplished by my friend, Anna K Jonsson (one-time Up North native), whose brilliant choice in listenables may have taken some of the DOOM out of the experience, but none of the beauty. I just wish an iphone had the same color capture capabilities as a peice of professional HD hardware, because damn, there were colors. In any case, I’m quite taken with the vid, and not just because I’m in it. 🙂