Sunday, August 03, 2014

Simple Pleasures: Going Up North

Wildflowers picked from the ditches beside the dirt road leading to the cabin. 

Minnesotans may love summer but they love their cabins even more. Eric and I joke that we really messed up when we married one another since neither one of us has a cabin in the family. Luckily, some good friends invited us to join them up north recently.

It was an idyllic weekend on a lake with only seven homes on it. It was so quiet that when a car pulled up across the way, you could hear the gravel crunching beneath the tires. There were two loons nesting on the lake, and they had a tiny baby just a week old. Stasha and I stole across the glassy water in a canoe and got close enough to see the mother's ox blood red eyes.

On the drive up, we stopped at Lavaliers farm and picked hundreds of strawberries that were shiny jewels of perfect juice. Our fingers and mouths were stained pink all weekend. We cooked some incredible meals- is there anything more summery than grilled sweet corn, burgers and watermelon?

We slept underneath taxidermy dear heads in a genuine log cabin that has been in her family for three generations. In fact, her grandfather told us that he first visited when he was just a few weeks old. There were no passable roads to the lake, so the only way in was by canoe, and that very canoe served as his crib that first summer.

Besides the complete stillness, the lovely company, and jumping off the dock into the icy cold water, I loved picking wildflowers with my friend. The boys joined us and we all picked tiny, delicious wild raspberries. We had fun turning the flowers into arrangements in whatever containers we could find in her grandmother's cupboards, jelly jars, bowls and an old tin camp cup.

After two days of slow and quiet, it felt so good to get back to my life in the city. I can see the magic of a going up north- it's just far enough that your mind can get quiet and not long enough to set your expectations impossibly high like you would with a vacation in the Carribean. And going up north isn't necessarily about packing in a million adrenaline packed highs- it's more about slowing down and appreciating what's already there; people you love, the beauty of the natural world and the way even mundane tasks can be pleasurable when you aren't rushing.

What has rejuvenated you this summer? Have you taken time for a vacation?

I filled an old tin camp cup with odds and ends found in the woods. 

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