The first rule any trained writer will tell you about writing is: “Don’t TELL me…SHOW me." This has never been easy for me, and for this particular entry, it’s damn near impossible. It’s been almost a month since I started writing about Labor Day weekend. Words seem inadequate to describe what an amazing experience it was and how deeply affected I was by it. Every sentence I write seems cheesy and dramatic. These are the tools I have to work with.
I sat in the car on Friday afternoon full of excitement, curiosity and expectation. Armed with Diva Girl Mad Libs™, markers & blank colored paper, I climbed in the backseat of Morgan’s car with music blasting and spirits high. Labor Day traffic made for an interesting audience for our giddiness…a car full of teenage boys laughed and pointed at our signs reading “Grand Marais or Bust”, “Watch the Road” and “Peace, Love & Revolution”. A particularly attractive delivery man smiled at our “What’s Your Sign?” and ";)"signs, and smiled some more at his next passing when it changed to “This Is Mine”.
North of Two Harbors, where all streetlights disappear and the vast expanse of trees to the west and the oceanic expanse of Lake Superior to the east are the only road signs, Mother Nature welcomed her estranged daughter back with open and unquestioning arms. She picked me up as I wailed with the tumult of a disquieted mind and chaotic spirit, wiped away my tears, calmed my fears, and cradled me in the unsurpassed beauty of the multitudinous and unwavering stars that shone through the moonroof as we sped toward our destination just north of Grand Marais. I couldn't imagine a more resplendent exhibit of the world's anatomy, though she would continue to challenge my understanding of true magnificence as weekend went on.
Time ceased to have meaning. The days blended into each other.
Renewed with energy once we reached our terminus, we congregated in front of a fire on the beach. We drank too much. (Okay, I drank too much.) We told stupid jokes and laughed until it hurt. We hiked up the Kudonce River, meandering through the water at the bottom of immense ravines covered in soft green moss, scaling waterfalls, sustaining injuries, scrambling all the way to the water's source. The smell of cedar and firewood surrounded us as we sat in a 105-degree hot tub, soaking the ache from our muscles. We sang. We picked raspberries from the front yard. We shopped for and cooked elaborate multicourse meals. We discussed the state of politics and diversity and racism in the United States. We listened to music. We discussed, ignored or forgot troubles as the mood struck us. I wrote, inarticulately, about everything we did in my journal while sitting on the deck, watching the morning/noon/night sky. We read. We napped. We visited Devil's Kettle, a place where water falls but never hits the ground. We flew a Sponge Bob kite. I learned to play Cribbage. I witnessed a game of mini-croquet (really). We were ourselves. We enjoyed each other's company. We sat in comfortable silences. We grew closer.
We were at home.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about what that word - "home" - means, and though a place may serve as the setting for it, it feels like peace.
There's no place like it.