I gotta say, this weekend was one for the record books. I had such a great time with some great friends, that not even a Monday morning could have brought me down today. A few days of music, conversation, great beer (and what I slightly remember to be great whisky), too much food, a dip in ice cold Lake Superior, a few runs down Mt. Bohemia on a late season powder day, and breathtaking scenery in the sunlight was…..complete bliss. I can’t even count how many times I caught myself just smiling without reason. I couldn’t keep myself from grinning and from laughing and from feeling like someone who was somehow experiencing all this beautiful joy for the first time. “Is this what it’s like to be truly happy?” I kept thinking to myself. I somehow always forget how great things can be. NOTE TO SELF: work on that.
You know, I always talk about how I have to get out of here – move west, move south, play in the mountains, own a goat, meet a cowboy, get a job picking berries or fighting fires or something, that sort of BS – but this past weekend brought the giant realization that I don’t want to leave.
The northwoods is home and I know that will never change. I’ve made countless mistakes here, I’ve gone through a lot of sad times here, but the most important moments and the happiest moments have happened for me here as well. I have always loved this place but I was never content with myself and this place at one time. I always felt like something in me was missing. But lately those feelings of being lost or upset have been drifting away from me and I am starting to completely embrace living like I used to. I don’t think there is anything that I would trade for swimming at midnight in the big lake, floating on my back to watch the stars and moon on a clear night. Or feeling the breeze and the smell of summer on a nearly perfect UP afternoon. Or how about listening to the rain fall on a porch roof? The happiest feelings that bunch up inside of you when “ordinary” moments like chopping wood or sitting in the sauna or listening to crackly radio or jumping into cold water or stoking a wood stove are all you need. Finding wonderful people around you who you can share a mutual understanding with about life and what it means to have a good time is all that I need to make me happy. And this weekend was 110% full of that.
I don’t think I’m ready to leave yet. Maybe eventually, maybe not. Maybe by the end of summer I’ll be ready to say goodbye, or maybe at the end of another 15 summers. Maybe I will leave and come back in 20 years or 10 years or maybe I won’t last 6 months without the comfort of the place I love so much. Maybe people will refer to me as that person who never left home, but that just doesn’t matter to me right now. I know change is good and I need to embrace places I haven’t been to – to learn more, to grow – but right now, in the moments I experienced all weekend long, Houghton is really the only place I want to be. Just me, a trailer, and a 40. And some chickens, of course. Maybe an apple tree too.
For now, that’s it. Wanted to thank my friends for the beautiful weekend. This post probably sounds a little crazy, but I just feel like I haven’t been truly happy as Amber for a while – but I feel truly happy today.