Tag: up north

It seems so long ago

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Today’s Daily Post photo challenge struck a nerve. The theme, Gone but not Forgotten, took me instantly back to a family vacation just a few months ago in beautiful northern Wisconsin. It feels like years ago.

In many ways, this has been a difficult fall. We’ve experienced love and loss, pursued new ventures and let go of comfortable, old habits. We’ve grown as a family and as individuals, although sometimes that growth has been accompanied by fear, or frustration, or sorrow.

This photo, while it captures a peaceful moment in my life, hurts me a little. I know it doesn’t look like it depicts a summer vacation. It was a strange August week – lots of rain, little sun. But I haven’t seen my family so relaxed and happy in years as they were in this place. When I look at this picture now, I am painfully aware that my kids are not as young as they were even just a few short months ago. They’ve gained some maturity. But they’ve lost some innocence.

Read the my original Up North post.

See other photo challenge posts.

Up north

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I don’t fish or water ski. I abhor the smell of wood smoke. I’m bugged by bugs. So why did I so enjoy our “up north” vacation?

My family of five shared a tiny, slightly-musty cabin. The weather was cool and rainy – we barely saw the sun. It was too cold to swim. My son sprained his foot. And we spent most of the week in damp, grubby clothes. On our return, the laundry (literally) brought tears to my eyes.

But there was a wonder to watching our oldest son catch his first “real” fish – a 16″ bass – and sharing it for dinner. To seeing our teenage daughter befriend a tiny, self-assured young man, aged four. To watching our youngest win a sandcastle-building contest. To hearing our children, within hours of arriving, ask, “Can we come back next year?”

And even though this is not the trip my family took when I was a kid, there was something familiar about the call of the loons, the crisp, clear water, and the activities at the lodge. It reminded me of childhood, of a simpler time where the last fleeting days of August were all the more sweet because school was right around the corner.

The rest of our year is a frenzied blur of homework, carpools, business trips, and deadlines. Music lessons. Airport noise. Telephone calls.

“Up north” we traded rushed meals for long dinners at the lodge. Housework for damp clothes draped over the deck railing. Sports practice for pick-up volleyball games. 24-hour connectivity for evenings by the fire.

And non-stop activity for peace. The peace that comes with having all the time in the world and nothing, really, to do. Time to watch an eagle soar, or wait for a bite on the line. To play cards with friends all afternoon. To listen to the owls calling all night, and then sleep in.

Which is all I really wish for in a vacation. See you next year, little cabin.