Monday, October 5, 2015

A Return to the Past at the Les Cheneaux Islands

Les Cheneaux Island fishing
When recently driving along the Upper Peninsula's highways, I saw a few abandoned resorts with their lonely cabins boarded up. I assume that these resorts, which are nothing more than clusters of tiny wood cabins, once were crowded with tourists who wanted to explore the U.P.'s wilderness.

What happened? Did they lose their luster as vacation spots when those tourists bought their own land and built their perfect U.P. vacation homes? Did their modest size and scant amenities fail to keep up with their customers' demands for the modern? Did fewer tourists stop each year, instead driving past in search of something bigger and better?

We chase the newer, the faster, and the more luxurious while discarding the old, the slow, and the modest. We raze perfectly serviceable homes to build state-of-the-art castles with vaulted ceilings and modern kitchens. We have to get a new smartphone every year to avoid being outdated. And we need to stay in the fanciest resorts and hotels that cater to our every need.

The simple beauty of the Les Cheneaux Islands
It's OK to want nice things, but we can miss out on the beautiful simplicity of life when we ignore the old and the modest. We can be consumed by the need for more while forgetting the distinct difference between wants and needs.

But there's a simpler way to live and a simpler way to vacation. Sometimes, the old way of doing things still has merit. Sometimes, simpler is better. Sometimes, an old resort can provide the simplicity that our lives often lack.