The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2002.09.04 On a walk into the night

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I was making my way to Adrian about 2:45 last Wednesday morning. The paper was printed late and I had to fetch it in the middle of the night so that everything could get addressed and mailed on time.

This happens every so often, and when it does, I listen to the Art Bell radio show on my way to the press room. Art features an interesting parade of people who might be best described as those on the fringes of science.

That night, yet another expert was talking about sasquatch. He has no doubt that a species of animal exists that’s neither ape nor human. It’s large, it smells and it’s remains are never found.

A long series of advertisements was about to begin so I switched back to a public radio station that offers the British World Service news, an all-night show of news and features from around the world.

I changed just in time to hear the announcer introduce the next segment, in which a man named Chris Yates would set out at nightfall for a stroll through the Wiltshire countryside in the south of England—without a flashlight, or torch, as they say. I never went back to sasquatch.

When Yates set out from a pub, it was still twilight and the birds were loud. That soon changed as the excerpts from his walk continued. Eventually, the midnight bells were heard from the village and the dark closed in around him.

I knew I had to do a similar walk. It didn’t take much to convince my friend, Brad, to join me on a stroll along the Bean—without a torch.

I’ve been along the Bean at night before and I know it really never gets dark down there. There are too many factory lights, store lights and street lights. But when we first reached the start of the path, everything looked very black.

There was only the slightest breach in the line of trees to even suggest a path, and as we stumbled down the hill into the trees, I began to wonder if this idea was feasible.

Maybe our eyes hadn’t yet adjusted, but I remember that first stretch as the darkest. Lights are fairly blocked out. There didn’t seem to be a path in sight. But I think some sort of instinct took over.

We crossed the little makeshift bridge over the now-dry drain leading out of Valentine’s Swamp and I said to Brad, in the lead, “I think there’s a fallen log right about here.” Sure enough, another step and he was up against it.

Chris Yates, who walked from dusk to dawn, said he was quite afraid of the dark as a youngster until he wandered out into his grandmother’s garden one night. The mysterious became magical and he grew to love the dark.

Other senses take over in the dark. Brad and I noticed the feel of every stick we walked on. Slight changes in elevation became magnified. Odors would come and go. Temperatures would vary slightly. The night was alive with crickets and frongs. And what else?

The path curved over toward the creek and the night sky became visible. An amazing display of stars. Small spots of light in the creek turned out to be the reflections of stars, but the little lights along the path were glowing larvae of some sort.

Looking up, leaves were outlined against the sky; looking ahead, our eyes strained to see. It wasn’t dark enough to shut out everything, but there wasn’t enough light to really focus on anything.

Eventually I had enough of following Brad’s white shirt. It seemed too easy so I over the lead. It’s surprising how often the path is visible as a faint light ribbon through the trees, but it’s even more surprising how we found our way through when there was no hint of a path, when I felt completely lost. A few more hesitant steps and I headed down a familiar hill. I had my bearings again.

Yates believes there’s an ancestral uneasiness about the night, probably something to do with avoiding predators.

“No matter how much I love the night,” he says, “there’s this other sense that tells me I shouldn’t be here.”

Perhaps it’s as simple as this, he says: If we didn’t avoid the night, we wouldn’t survive it.

Brad and I survived our walk into the night and now I want to do it again—alone, without a torch. I walked the overgrown path the next day in the light and wondered how we ever made it.

    – Sept. 4, 2002 

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