Up North.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unfortunately for my children, their mother is a selfish woman.
FORTUNATELY, for them, they get to come along for the ride.
Having spent much of, well, the first few years of their lives,
wringing my hands in private,
exhausted from constant worry and fear,
I now have a new sense of peace, balance, joy. 
I have closed those doors.
Finally and blessedly,
at an age where my children are SO much more aware of me, influenced by me, tuned in to me and my moods.
Good riddance to those days.
Oh.  I am STILL a moody bi**ch.  STILL filled with fears.
I am a mother, after all.
Only better.
Regardless, it has been some time since I’ve truly felt "grounded,"
I’ve met and know women, who know they and their families are "settled."
Will most likely grow old in the homes they currently reside in.
I think that is so beautiful.
Pounding stakes in to a certainty I, on the other hand,
have yet to find.
And as we well know, there really is no certainty in this life.
But for me, it is certain, that I currently don’t know where I’m going.
Where I’ll end up.
Every new place we go, see, travel too, sucks me in.
Is this it?  Is this the place?  Is this where I too, will feel "at home?"  Satisfied?  Settled?
I love our home.  I love our neighborhood.  I love our town.
I love my friends that reside in the cozy, old homes beside me.
I feel like we have more to see.
I love the cozy home we’ve made, our lovely "things." 
I feel little attachment to any of it (well, aside from the people.)
I have always had this root of simplicity and freedom in my belly,
that knows and believes I could pack a small backpack for myself and my children,
with the necessities,
and go.
I love that and take great pride in that fact about myself.
Now, our checking account and my husband’s hard won income and continual frustration with me, may beg to differ.
But when it comes down to it,
IT, all of what we have, means nothing to me.
I long for adventure.
Stretching not just myself, but my children, outside of their comfort zone.
And now especially, because I know I can and am not held back by fear.
It has taken me YEARS to get to this point.
To this state of trust, strength, peace, determination and fearlessness.
To finally see through the thick brush, dark shadows, winding trails,
And now, I want to move.
And see more.
And I seem to fall in love wherever I go, 
ocean waves filling in between my toes, the salty sea breezes that stir up the senses,
the crisp mountain air, looming tree lines and snow-covered peaks,
desert landscapes of red rock and dry heat. . .all amazing and beautiful.
There is something about the North Woods.
The sweet, wet smell of old pines and moss-covered rocks.
Wildflowers, their little skirts dancing around the tallest trees.
THIS is a place where I feel CLOSE to home.
A little less threatening than the mountain landscape.
The lakes FAR less dangerous than the undertow of an ocean wave.
MUCH more predictable.
This landscape that I love,
has for years now, beckoned me to it with my family.
Called me to dip my toes in the crystal cool waters.
Not to whole up in a tent with the bare necessities (yet,)
But in the coziness of a north woods cabin.
On one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen. 
I yearn to do that.  To simplify even more.
Although I love a warm bed, a hot shower, a dishwasher and food I can trust,
I know I can do without.
I have no attachment.
I’ve never cooked over a fire, pitched a tent, slept in the rain,
But I know I could.  
And WANT to.
The sense of "belonging" in this place,
makes me want to do, see and play more.
Feelings I've been seeking,
and continue to find here, year after year.
To feel like I AM where I’m supposed to be.
I’m SO intrigued and fascinated not only with new places,
new and undiscovered territory (at least by me,)
but also with TRUE pilgrims, pioneers.
I'm obsessed with books about soldiers, navy seals, warriors,
strong women.
Those that battle on foreign land for the freedom of their country.
But also those that take on the wilderness, moving far beyond their comfort zones to battle for freedom of their minds or simply to enjoy the beauty that we’ve been given in nature.
I’m reading a book called The Last American Man.
I would LOVE for my children to see their mom bait a hook (check.)
Start a fire.
Portage a canoe.
Okay.  So if I had to start a fire, I’d probably pull out a "Cast-Away" tip, a la Tom Hanks, 
place my cheap Target-bought sunglasses in the rays of the sun,
hoping to start a fire that way.
I make smore’s in the microwave. . .because I don’t know how to start a fire.
But I know JUST how long to nuke those marshmallows so they’re not TOO chewy and the chocolate’s not TOO runny.
Clearly I’ve got a ways to go to TRULY be "roughing it."
But I’d like to be viewed as a "little gutsier" than the average mom.
And although venturing to Ely alone with the kids for awhile is,
gutsy enough, 
I want more.
I like to think when I make this trip up north,
That I’m "roughing it."
In the eyes of other, less ambitious and courageous mothers,
I probably am.
I am after all, alone.  With three small children.  Hours from home.  In the woods.
I AM roughing it, right?
I have neglected to wash my face, brush my teeth, shampoo my hair,
apply deodorant, wear pants.  For days now.  Living in my bathing suit and water shoes.
I’m quite a sight.
I’ve given up on covering mosquito bites destined to become infected from all the itching.
Have long since forgotten to apply sunscreen, to myself or the children,
Not to mention, do a sit up, eat a salad, or, did I mention, shower?
It’s MY kind of survival mode in the place I love most.
No one seems to care.
Too busy swimming.
{We forgot Charlie's swim trunks.  Had to wear Jack's.}
More swimming.
Ah, more fishing.
I’ve never had to rely on my own resourcefulness,
Which, after reading this and other amazing books recently,
My annual trip to Ely by myself with the kids, would be, well, unimpressive.
Actually, I probably wouldn’t last a day in the REAL wilderness.
Unless my burly woodsman husband disguised as a businessman came along,
Then he could teach me and train me and tell me what to do,
And I could do it.
For the time being, I dream.
Attempt to, if not MAKE fire,
stir one up in the little bellies my kids.
An unquenchable thirst to disconnect from the hum drum of electronic life and
hear, see, and touch all the goodness the North Woods has to offer.
A sacred moment each summer, where we learn, 
Not just within the beautiful lakes and pines of Ely, MN,
But within ourselves.
How beautiful that is.

{Some pics taken on my phone, some on my professional camera.} 

Other fab books I've read recently. . .

"A walk in the Woods" - Bill Bryson = amazeballs
"Dorothy Molter-The Root Beer Lady" - Sarah Guy-Levar
"Wild-Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" - Cheryl Strayed


gabbygrace said...

Sooooo impressed with you warrior mama!!! I think any mom willing and WANTING to take three kids basically alone up north is amazing, plain and simple! You rock and so happy that Ely delivered and your kids were awesome, yeah!!! And love love love all the pics, amazing all around, you rock! :)

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