Mae Stier photographer and writer based in Empire, MI, US

What are your Sunday mornings like at your little house in Empire?

Sunday mornings in Empire look different depending on the season. In the summer, I usually wake up and make coffee, then walk down to the Lake where I bump into a few neighbors who have come down to enjoy their coffee and go for a swim. As we move through fall and into winter, I still walk down to the Lake most Sunday mornings, but with the colder temps I spend my time walking the shore rather than jumping in, and it is often entirely empty of other people.

Nature inspires you and especially water. Is the Lake Michigan coast a place where you experience your most peaceful moments?

Lake Michigan absolutely hosts many of my peaceful moments. I go to the shore most days to walk or swim. In the warmer months I sit and write at the beach every morning, and often when I need to find some clarity or think through a problem, Lake Michigan is the place I go to work through it. She feels more like a being to me than just a body of water. She feels like home.

Weekends in your garden with a few of your dearest friends. How do they enrich your life?

Hosting friends at my house is one of my favorite things. Meals in the garden on a summer evening that last long after the sun goes down bring a sense of community and belonging to us all. As we move into fall and the garden dies and the leaves start to change, I love hosting meals with a fire going nearby, enhancing the coziness. I love it when people linger at the table, long after the food is gone, and do my best no matter the season to ensure that everyone is warm enough in the environment to not want to rush off.

Photography: Mae Stier @maestier