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Going Home to Michigan

This is an unusual post for me. Very rarely will I actually write anything about what’s going on in my life, what I’m going through or where I’m heading next. But this is a different post because you see, tomorrow I’m heading back home to Michigan with Ms. Clareyt for the 4th of July!

I came across an old journal entry of mine I wrote 2 years ago while visiting Michigan. You see our ‘cabin’ up there was nothing more than a tiny little shack that’s been in the family for generations. My parents who recently retired moved up there and in doing so had to demolish the poor thing to make room for the next stage in their lives.

This entry was written on the last night I’d ever spend in that cabin:

‘There’s something to be said for this 300 sq. ft piece of space.  For 23 years now I’ve been traveling up to the Northern Woods and I hope to travel up here for at least 23 more.  At the moment I’m writing to you in the cabin with my family and Billy.  You’d think after nearly a week of spending most of our time in and around this little slice of heaven we’d be at odds with one another.  However this isn’t the case at all.  We’ve immersed ourselves in conversation and cheer, had amazing fish at the ‘Pub’ in Charlevoix, at at Bob’s (which might I remind you is THE Sunny spot for shady people.)  No, these woods and lakes up here are something special and like Hemingway of yesteryear, I cherish every second I spend here.

Traveling is something I enjoy, I look forward to. Simply put, traveling is a passion of mine. But driving up I-75, those 500 miles…those 500 quick miles, sends a shiver of excitement down my spine.  Once we turn off of exit 310, head over to Indian River, pass along the shores of Burt Lake and travel down Banwell Rd…I’m there!

I’m UP NORTH!  My favorite spot in the world.  A place that means so much to me, my family and friends that have been lucky enough to spend time here.

Not long from now I’ll head down to the fire with my parents and good friend Billy to gaze upon the stars and the Milky Way; a sight uncommon to the Cincinnati suburbs.

What will become of this nearly ‘sacred’ dare I say Holy 300 sq ft?  Sadly, it might not live to see another summer.  Next year you see, we’ll have a brand new cottage, with multiple bedrooms, showers, lofts, screened in porch, wireless Internet, TV, and even LEVEL GROUND!  What a thought!  A level surface.  No ‘trap doors’ where a seasoned vet of the ‘Up North Experiene’ knows to step over.  This will be the site of a ‘New’ North.

The cottage and what the word represents isn’t luxury or sophistication.  It’s a step above camping.  It’s always been so.  The plates are from the ’60s, the silverware even older, stove is from the 50′s and not long ago there was a coal burning furnace from God knows when!

I like being able to peek outside from the confines of the cabin.  Peer outside through the logs that is.  Those old logs that have been neglected for decades, seen awful winters and wet springs.  Only to hold up just ‘one more year’ to a son that seems not to appreciate her, but deeply does.

There is such a connection to this place.  Traveling to the Northern Woods means returning home.  My home isn’t in Cincinnati; that home was sold as I left to study in Oxford.  No my home for the past 5 years has been here, in this 300 sq. ft palace.

The kitchen table might not be straight.  The floor might give way the next time you step on it.  The toilet probably won’t flush.  Hell, the cabin might not even be standing…but that’s Up North.  Any other way, any other experience wouldn’t mean as much.

Every year when I leave here it feels like I’m leaving home. Leaving the only place I absolutely love unconditionally.

It is a sad thing.

No more fires for a year, no more lake, no more sailing….These experiences must wait another year.

There’s definitely something to be said for this 300 sq. ft slice of heaven.’

Do you have a place like this?

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