Michigan wildflowers continue to amaze me. This little bit of the world is so rich with growth this time of year. It’s as if a beautiful sleeping giant is finally waking up. Have you seen Moana? This season reminds me of the end of the movie when the dark stone monster is transformed into Te Fiti, and the flowers break through the darkness and cover the whole mountain in bright, sunny, flowery goodness. The world is good and everyone is happy. If you’ve never experienced spring in Northern Michigan that is the best way I know how to describe it. After the cold snowy winter and many days of clouds and rain suddenly there are flowers everywhere and birds singing. Like it changed overnight.

Growing up in Lower West Michigan, Trillium was a rare sighting. (Like a Pink Lady Slipper, which I’ve only seen once in my life but it could easily be a whole blog post in itself) So when we moved up North to start our family, our first spring up here was an amazing experience for me. Every time we took a drive out of the city we saw Trillium. On the hills, in the woods, it even grew in peoples gardens!

There is a road up here called The Tunnel Of Trees. M115. It is a slow winding road along Lake Michigan and travels through the woods showing off the best of what this state naturally offers. As a family, we try to drive that route as many times as possible in a season. But hands down, my favorite time is in the last week of May. The entire woods are just a blanket of trillium. My most favorite wildflower. Those small white or purple three pointed blooms cover the ground everywhere. The tall mature trees that create the tunnel leave just enough speckled sunlight to shine on the little creeks and moss-covered banks that are home to tiny cabins. And in the midst of those thousands of white flowers, it feels like a place where fairies could actually be real.

On that drive, amidst the pointing and admiring, the beauty and the length of the drive often lends itself to deep, and real conversations. This time was no different. We were on our way back from a weekend of camping in Mackinaw City, smoky and sunburned. While we had two hours of winding through the most magical woods I’ve ever seen we talked about our dreams and big-picture planning. What we’re hoping for and making sure we’re all working for the same goals.

That yearly drive at the end of May will forever be one of my favorite memories.

Samantha Hendrickson