Great East Japan Earthquake Remembrance Ceremony

I was privileged to be invited to the Great East Japan Earthquake Remembrance Ceremony & Luncheon today by the Consulate General of Japan (Detroit) at the Lansing State Capital Rotunda.  I was invited as a representative of both the Michigan/Shiga Sister State Board and as a printmaker member of the Baren Forum and it's "Inspired by Japan" Relief fundraiser.
The Consul General of Japan, Kuninori Matsuda gave a very moving speech thanking "all of our friends across Michigan - individuals, schools, churches, non-profits, corporations and local governments- for your generosity and your solidarity with the Japanese people."  We know that this gift truly stems from kizuna: the bond of friendship."
Speeches were also given by our Governor Rick Snyder and Lansing's Mayor Virg Bernero.  Mrs. Mary Fales, mother of a Michigan man teaching English in Kesennuma City at the time of the earthquake spoke of her son's experience and Dr. Jeffrey Angles read original and translated poetry written in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Each guest recieved a gift from Fukushima (pictured above).  The folk art doll represents the mind of the Tohoku people who are calmly and patiently working on reconstruction with the spirit of "never give up" in the aftermath of the Great Earthquake, as it always stands up with gentle smile however many times it is knocked over. 
I tried to knock it over.  Like our own Weeble's, it bounces right back up when you knock it over!


In October 2011, I was Artist in Residence at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  With old growth forests, waterfalls, Lake Superior and a plethora of hiking trails, I was inspired until I was overflowing.
We were fortunate to go on two guided hikes with Park Interpreter, Bob Wild, which I highly recommend you do if visiting there.  The first was an early evening bear den hike – during a time when posted signs in the Park said “Bear Activity is High”! The second was a twilight, 90 minute guided hike through the former town site and copper mill of the Nonesuch Copper Mine.  The former copper mill’s limestone building shells and processing pits are slowly disintegrating and there is talk of archeological work being done there in the future if funding can be found.
It was the old town site that really interested me.  The buildings are long gone – torn down or moved during the Depression.  Lilac bushes and fruit trees that now feed only wildlife are the only things left that show that humans inhabited the town site. As we walked back out of the area, the full moon shone down on Nonesuch.  The relatively young trees, holding on to the last of their golden leaves, glowed softly.  The Reclamation by the Wilderness was well on its way.