"I went on the search for something true"
Sunday, May 29, 2016
I now walk into the wild.
Monday, May 30, 2016 -- Memorial Day
Another holiday that will forever be marred by a broken heart; not many of those left that don't have some sort of tragic memory attached to it. Drove up to "Washington" cabin in the Upper Peninsula just south of Escanaba on a whim after major psychiatric episode/losing my everything -- again -- in an attempt to convince myself that people aren't worth throwing away my sobriety over. This is my "Big, Two-Hearted River".
First night ever camping alone -- arrived around 3:30 in the afternoon after the long drive through the pines of Northern Michigan, across the Mighty Mac, along the splendid shores of Lake Michigan on U.S. Route 2 that winds its way along the pine-studded southern coast of the Upper Peninsula; cute yooper girl at the park booth greets me shyly and hands me the key to the cabin. Felt sad for a while upon setting up camp, but then I stroll down the small dunes a short walk from cabin to the beach and for a long time just sat and listened to the waves rolling in from Green Bay -- like nature's heartbeat -- then cooked a can of chili on the fire for dinner and found Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on the radio (the little things!), and I almost felt like I was home. Kind of spooky when darkness falls -- and it comes swiftly -- but also kind of a strange rush being out there in the middle of nowhere by myself, where who knows what could be lurking in the darkness in the surrounding woods; it feels right being here in the moment. Maybe this is what I need to do for a little while. Maybe I can be happy.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 -- Day 2, Morning Light
'I think I might live this life for some time to come. The natural beauty and splendid isolation is just too good to pass up'. - Alexander Supertramp
Something rejuvenating about waking up to the sound of waves. The stars were the brightest I'd ever seen last night. Sometimes when you look at those specks of light out there in the vast universe, you realize how insignificant your little trials and tribulations are in the grand scheme of the galaxies.
Day 2, Nightfall
Wow! Such solitude!
Hours upon hours sitting outside, by the beach, by the fire, reading, exploring the surrounding trails, gathering beachwood for the fire, playing with the radio (St. Louis Cardinals v. Milwaukee Brewers game comes in loud and clear, Bob Ueker broadcasting -- what a delight). Not a soul in sight. Found the Tigers game coming in from Traverse City on the radio, but I'm constantly having to adjust the AM dial or the radio antennae, because the radio is getting so many different wavelengths from across Lake Michigan -- Chicago, Traverse City, Escanaba, Milwaukee, Green Bay, even Grand Rapids. And at night, when the wind blowing in from the lake makes the radio go staticky, I am spooked by the premonition that the ghosts of sailors in Lake Michigan's depths are trying to speak through the airwaves.
Drove into "town" this morning after washing up at the well in ice cold water -- first to roadside gas station/restaurant/mart to pick up ice and brats (where it seems the entirety of this small town's senior citizen population -- of about twelve -- are gathered to meet for coffee), then to downtown Escanaba; returned to the cabin only to lock myself out, of course. Have to make the long hike a mile to the ranger station, which seems a blessing in disguise, because it's a mile hike through beautiful country -- towering jack pines, birch trees, and evergreens -- walking over pine needles that remind me of my long walks during my long lost summer in Petoskey. When I arrive at the ranger station, I timidly explain my situation to another cute yooper girl manning the ranger station; she phones a supervisor -- a gentle lady who arrives shortly after in her Jeep and offers me a lift back to the cabin; she asks me, with motherly concern, "you're up here by yourself?"; before departing, we spend a few minutes talking wolves and black bears in the area, and she tells me how she picks raspberries and blackberries up here in the summer (what a lovely thought). I spend the rest of the day with absolutely no contact with another soul, just me and the birds and chipmunks, who prowl about camp testing how close they can get to me playfully. Just me, the campfire, the waves of Lake Michigan, and radio.
I'm afraid to go home. I don't want to leave this "road" life. Absolutely nothing to go home to, anymore.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 -- Day 3
Rain, stormy waves, and cold temperatures reflect my soul this morning. Lock myself out of the damn cabin again in the grey dawn, walk the mile back to the ranger station in shorts and tee shirt that I slept in, shivering as the rain falls through the canopy of trees above me on the dirt road. "I lock my keys out of my truck all the time, eh," says twenty-something yooper dude who gives me a lift back to the cabin on his four-wheeler.
Don't want to go back, but I do need my book, my writing. Pledge to myself that I won't be going back to my old life; I'll be back.
Superior, next, then Wisconsin, Minnesota, maybe North Dakota and Montana, next. West! To writing, finishing my book, to the road, to new experiences.