On day we looked at our new house, Sean and I came home feeling lot’s of emotions. The biggest was a shared need for escape from the city. The sun had been tucked behind clouds for days, and suddenly seeing it in the sky we had to grab our coats and hats, and go play under it! So where do we go when things get tough and need fresh perspective? Pickerel Lake, of course.
I have never hiked hiked the lake in the fall before. And this time, instead of taking the path that winds around the lake, we went higher into the woods, where I quickly learned that Sean’s long legged pace leaves me gasping for air and running to catch up. The entire time we hiked we talked about the house we had just seen. We talked it about like it was already ours. I said to Sean that we should be careful about getting our hopes up like it already happened. And Sean told me to think positively and send our confidence into the world through our speech habits. I smiled, remembering how we had met in a literature class, and how this part of our beings will always find a way into our lives. Even in conversations about houses there is language to discuss.
Leaving Pickerel Lake we felt content. We had found the peace we were seeking. And the next day, we got the house.
Sean and I had a great adventure planned some weekends ago. We packed our hiking bags and meals late Friday night, then woke up early Saturday morning, bound for the Manistee National Park for a weekend away. But further North we drove, the darker the skies became. Then miles from our destination, the clouds let loose! I mean it was really raining. And I hate being wet. And I don’t like carrying heavy things and being wet. And I mostly don’t like having to sleep in the rain after carrying heavy things in the rain and being wet all day. So we decided to make a plan B
We kept on 131, driving North to Traverse City. I had a a carload of things for my mom and sister’s, so we decided to just meet up with them for lunch and a drop off. After a good meal at a great fish joint, we got back in our car and started driving home. Driving South we we encountered the sun again. So we took a short detour to the North Country Trail, deciding to stretch our legs and at least get a small adventure out of the day while we still could.
This forest was unlike I’ve hiked in Michigan. It was the kind of forest where children see fairies and adults feel small again. I can see why Sean loves it here so much. The mist between the trees, the moss along the path, branches reaching into the clouds, crooked trees and croaking frogs… all of it together creating magic.
I might be a little partial, but probably Sean’s the cutest guy to have hiked that trail all year!
Have you hiked the North Country Trail before? Isn’t it incredible! I just cannot wait to go back!
Happy Monday, folks. Stay safe, wherever you are reading out there. And remember: positive thoughts have the power to spread thick, so send ’em if you got ’em!
Last week, Sean and I spent the night in Jamaica. Jamaica, Vermont that is. And it was perfect! We drove into our campsite a little later than we anticipated. But as the sun was setting and Sean set up the tent, I raced over to the nearest town for some pizza. After replenishing our bodies with grease and a beer, we walked down the steep hill to the river, dodging trees and holding hands. As we stood in the cold, rushing water, watching the river flow, it came upon me: this idea of how quickly everything passes; of how like water, our lives roll over rocks and into valleys, moving out of the way for new water, unknowingly caught in the current of river’s center, where it moves quickly and with intent, molecules into molecules, the unseen becoming the whole, simply because of the power they have as a united grouping.
I was thinking about how my relationship with Sean is so like this river. Standing together in that river, I couldn’t help but feel this metaphor run over my skin. I couldn’t help but feel how intimately I was connected to everything in that moment. And mostly, as I watched Sean jump from rock to rock like a mad wilderness man, I couldn’t help but feel how hyper-sensitive I was to this connection simply because he is in my life. Sean has shown me how to feel alive, everyday. Everyday we spend together, whether we are home or far away, we are growing into our life together. That evening by the river, I began to understand the path our life is taking as a couple, as a family. My and Sean’s roots, I realized, have become entangled with one another, deep beneath the dark soil of a riverbank with water, running wild above us. You see, we are all connected: him and me, and this great world around us. But for now, in this instance we are safe, steadfast, and most of all together. This was such a great campground. Very quiet and secluded! I highly recommend it to anyone traveling the East Coast!
To us, Pickerel Lake has always been perfect. Last summer, before Sean went traveling through India and Nepal, we dedicated an entire day to each other, which meant first we ate too much lemon pie and then we hiked around Pickerel Lake. It was on a bench half way around the lake, with a handkerchief on my head and tears in my eyes that Sean and I both realized, we absolutely, positively could not live without one another.
Last week, Sean was adamant that we go hiking on Friday after he was done with work. I wanted to have cocktails with the girls, but he really wanted to go hiking, so I told the girls I’d see them later, made a batch of burritos to fill the picnic basket and off we went to Pickerel Lake. We wound around the lake, talking and holding hands. I made up fake conversations between the birds we heard and we both wondered aloud, “Why does no one else come here. It’s perfect.” As we neared the bench from last summer, Sean started talking about the last time we were here; about how so much has changed, but yet nothing at all. I grabbed his hand and sighed, “I’m so glad you aren’t leaving for six weeks tomorrow,” as we neared the bench to eat our burritos.
Hopping on the bench, I pointed at a nearby fisherman and Sean suddenly couldn’t sit on our bench anymore. What a strange thing for Sean to care about, I thought as I led the way down the path to a fallen log. Sitting down, I reached behind me for the picnic basket, but when I turned back, Sean was no longer next to me. He was down on one knee, holding both my hands in his own, looking up at me with big eyes and a smile.
And this is our engagement story. Another day at Pickerel Lake, sitting on a fallen log, agreeing to spend the rest of our lives exploring this world together. To us, Pickerel Lake is still perfect.
I have been waiting for this day for months and months! Without further ado, I am pleased to announce that Sean and I have conquered our first beach day of the summer. Hooray! Hooray!
Each spring, I grow very anxious for my first trip to the beach. It can never come soon enough for me! The challenging part of where I live now is that it is some thirty minutes away from any lakes or bays in the area. Growing up, I was jaded by easy access to water. But, now that I’m living two hours south of home and away from all that water, I tend to go a little stir crazy in the city. It’s not always easy for me to be patient in a concrete jungle.
On Sunday, Sean and I finally had a day free of responsibilities! Anticipation paired with the warmth of sunshine to pull us from our normal routine, and we headed out for a hike. As we drove to the lake shore, I looked out the window at the green all around, and remembered, oh yah, this is why I live in Michigan. Because after waiting out all those inches of snow and long, cold weekend, treacherous commutes and frigid walks around the neighborhood, we are rewarded with plenty of sweet days. And Sunday was definitely a very sweet day.
Happy Monday, all!
IS was SUN IN THIS PLACE!
After a week of zero sun (and I mean that quite literally), we woke up Saturday
afternoon morning to it dancing through our south-facing windows! Ready to celebrate, I quickly finished my coffee and Sean & I headed out to collect as much vitamin D as we could in this place. With a great segment playing on NPR, we rode to the outskirts of Grand Rapids, where one of our favorite hiking trails is: Aman Park.
There is a river in this place that you follow through the woods. And there are trees to crawl across, hoping you will not slip into the frigid water below. There are trees to climb. And there is inspiration to be found for new games and books for children. There are conversations between the crunching of snow and laughter that sneaks through the trees in this place.
Did you all get a chance to stop and play in the sun this weekend? It’s not too late! Have fun.