The sunrise this morning is beyond description. Mom and grandma are perched on the couch, looking out the window at the horizon like children waiting for a mysterious visitor to knock on the door. Their innocence and wonder melts my heart and I join them. As the sun rises, is it pierced in half by a narrow thick cloud that creates two mini-suns out of the one. It looks like two egg yolks merging, or rather one egg dividing. I’ve this sort of thing in biology textbooks and through zoomed-in scopes but never at the macro level with my own eyes. We are watching creation, the origin of light, our eager anticipation is being rewarded.
This morning, the weather is clear. It’s time to go.
Everything mom does is slow. Maybe not slow-slow but slower than I would do it and it’s frustrating me. Why can’t I be patient? Why do I see in each moment an opportunity to show her what she could be doing better? I feel out of control. There has never been a car with so much steering from the backseat. “Maybe you’d like to drive?” Mom says and I agree but we don’t switch right away. We are going the same place, we are going there together, and when we get there, we will still be together. Breathe. Two minutes later, a car slides down a hill into our lane and smashes into us. Continue reading “Troopers- control”
Waking up in the hotel room is nothing like it was in the little cabin. There is no window to sit and watch the sunrise from. In fact, when I look out the window, I see nothing. The storm has subsided not at all and sunrise will serve only to change the hue of our blindness.
The storm is so serious that the people on the news have given it a name– Neptune. I am inclined to scoff at the dramatization borne of the 24-hour news cycle but there’s no question the storm is worthy of a proper noun. Downstairs, at the front desk I find out that all the roads are closed or closing. There is no way out of town. Snowmobiles are being blown off the road. “Would you like to make a reservation for anther night?” I’m sad to think about our little cabin, the place that mom and grandma love so much, sitting there at the opposite perimeter of that white throbbing blob on the Doppler. Reluctantly, we put that extra night on hold.
I take the opportunity to use the hotel sauna. It’s not the authentic Finnish variety that the UP is known for, but it’s something. It feels nice to be too warm, to take a break from my family. The only other person in the sauna is a middle-aged man who tells me about the ice caves he visited yesterday. I tell him I’d like to go with my mom and Grandma and he asks me if I’m married. I’m so caught off guard that I answer honestly– “no”– instead of appropriately– “what the hell?”
Being cooped up like this makes me think about the phenomena of “hurricane babies” where, in the prolonged absence of modern diversions of electricity and transportation, people commence to partake in some very old-fashioned distractions. Today happens to be Valentine’s Day and I smirk just to imagine the improvised celebrations that will come out of all those cancelled dinner plans. I predict that there will be a swell of bellies this summer, a sweep of babies this fall and that, for as may lives as he may take today, time will reveal Neptune to be quite prolific. Continue reading “Troopers- for the love”
The streets in Marquette are closed off where the sled dogs will be coming through in the next few hours. We get a spot by the window in a downtown pizza parlor and watch the people congregate on the sidewalks. I’ve never see a sled dog race before but I’ve imagined it. In my mind, the starting line looks something like that of a horse race (though I’ve never seen that either), all the teams are lined up together, with animals straining against that boundary for the moment when the gun will blast and they can take off together in a mass of confusion and energy and competition. Continue reading “Troopers- snow canoe”
In the safety of the warmth inside the cabin, I huddle up against the window and look out along the vast and might Lake Superior, not 20 yards away from me. There is a lone streak of color in the sky.
Sunrises are so different from sunsets. When the sun goes down, you know what you are working with– you follow the light with your eye until it is gone. When the sun comes up, you don’t know exactly when or where it will breach the horizon. My understanding of the inevitability of the sun’s rising is clouded with sleepiness and the illogical doubt that waiting for something unseen always brings– what if, this time, the sun doesn’t come up? Continue reading “Troopers- take advantage”
Every February, mom and grandma take the long drive up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to experience the heart of winter in the tiny town of Paradise and watch a dogsled race. The UP 200 is a qualifying race for the Iditarod and I am fascinated by its modest exoticism.
Even before I reached a maturity level where it occurred to me to be nice to my mom, I reluctantly admitted that the trip sounded rather awesome. Now that I’ve reached the maturity level where I deign to love and appreciate and enjoy her, I have been trying to come along on one of these annual trips but it’s never happened before now. I’m doubly excited to be here because we will be returning to some of the sanctified scenes I passed through on foot a year and a half ago en route to a new life.
Well, that life is approximately as messy as it has ever been and I need a break. I don’t know of a unit of measurements for internal chaos but this is registering pretty high. I need to escape that other life for my sake and the sake of those I’ll be leaving behind for awhile. This trip presented itself on the horizon from the squiggles of my everyday life and I am clinging to it. It’s time to rise up: up to the UP, up from the morass of my self-pity and confusion, and up to a place where distance grants perspective and climate demands clarity.