Tonight my good friend Susan arrives in Duluth for the start of our 22nd annual XC Ski weekend together. This is the first time we haven’t driven up from the Cities together, talking our way through the dark to our first stop in Duluth. I remember those days well, rushing out of work, decompressing on the drive and looking forward to some time to ourselves. It was a release from kids, husbands, work and routine.
How things have changed, for me anyway. Retirement has not only brought me back to Duluth, but I’ve left behind the stresses of work for good, not just for a long weekend. The kids have all grown, and having the little ones in the house is now something special rather than a daily responsibility.
I no longer feel I need the “break.” But I still look forward to our ski trip. There is no substitute for time spent with a long-term friend, one who knows me well. Nothing else compares to getting in some women time. We can talk feelings, art, culture, crafts, family, life, religion and anything else that occurs to us. Running out of things to talk about is never an issue. And it is oh, so rewarding.
Of course we’ll ski. We’ll put in as many kilometers as we can squeeze in each day. It will be invigorating and being out in the snowy woods will feed our souls. We’ll revel in the views of Lake Superior and appreciate the beauty of the North Shore. And each night we’ll collapse in front of the fireplace to enjoy some wine and cheese – and chocolates – and talk.
Yes, some things about this get-away weekend have changed. But my real reasons for treasuring it stand firm. It’s all just a matter of perspective.