Trading one lake for another

It was ideal cabin weather. Our unprecedented long string of hot sunny days continued, spelling out ideal conditions for being at the cabin. Plans were laid. We’d leave mid-morning.

North ShoreWaking up to deep blue skies, a fresh breeze and less humidity than we’d seen in days, it was a fabulous day in Duluth. Heading out for my early morning run, I couldn’t help but absorb its perfection. Lake Superior was at its finest. Mostly calm with a royal blue hue, lined with rich green trees and brilliant blooms along the Lakewalk, it called to me. I realized that I have let the summer slip by without enough time spent on its shores. I craved time to sit on the rocks and stare into the water. A picnic by the lake. A close encounter with a ship passing through the canal. Anything to be by the Big Lake.

There were ample offerings to enjoy the weekend in Duluth, so why was I going to the cabin? It was my idea, and I’d spent the previous evening executing my usual over-scripted routine to round up plentiful food and other assorted necessities for the trip. I could have abandoned all that. One word and Rich would have been happy to stay home. But despite my internal conflict I remained silent.

I will admit that part of me rationalized staying home because I could also make further progress on my to-do list. That bottomless source of busy-ness is the bane of my retirement, keeping me constantly occupied and prone to turning down opportunities for pure pleasure activities. I allow it to squelch my flexibility and in return I reap mild reward from some warped sense of accomplishment. Perhaps this knowledge unconsciously propelled me to continue loading the car.

ANorth Star Lakell it took was arriving in the cabin driveway. I could already feel life’s requirements falling away. The silence was broken only by the wind rustling the leaves and the flies buzzing. And the lake was beautiful. With only occasional boats cruising by, it was the picture of tranquility.

My to-do list is meaningless here. With no computer, internet or sewing machine I am powerless to tick anything off that list. And I’m so glad. With just the two of us here, there are no demands on my time. I am free to do nothing, or as close to it as I can manage. (I do have my limits.) I have already finished one book while sitting on the dock and started another. I’ve mulled over some writing ideas, which have previously been crowded out by tasky clutter. I can feel my creativity flourishing. It’s peaceful here in a way it never can be at home, precisely because it is not home. Although I generally prefer a more sociable setup at the cabin, sharing this small space with family and friends, there is a lot to be said for some quiet time.

At the cabin, anything feels possible. I am confident that I will find another time to linger by the Big Lake. For now I’m happy absorbing the solitude of North Star Lake. It turned out to be a good trade.

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