Winter has come early to Minnesota. Which is kind of unfair because, if I recall correctly, winter LEFT LATE last season. When we first looked at our cabin, it looked like the one above. We tromped (seriously tromped) up the long-ass driveway in hip deep snow…….in the middle of April. So by my calculation, that’s only 5 months without snow. That’s messed up, y’all.
Ludlow’s Resort, in Cook, Minnesota, posted this video yesterday with the caption: “Commute to work: The ice is setting up on Lake Vermilion. Travel to the job site is getting fun! In a few days we will be walking over.”
Watching the wake of ice shards floating behind his boat as his bow shoves them aside is both freaky and freaky peaceful; like an icy meditation or miniature glaciers parting the waters at boat speed. This man’s boat ride is both beautiful and a dreadful sign of what’s to come.
And, you know what? The dude does not seem to be the least bit upset about it. Nor does the dog. Living in the far north brings with it extreme markers of the passage of time – changes that require you to rearrange your life. But no matter what discomfort these changes bring, the transition is good for us, forcing us to live according to Mother Nature’s rules, not our own. It’s the ultimate opportunity to let go and be at peace with the way things are. For the far northerners, Mother Nature is more important than to-do lists and pick-ups and drop-offs and dry cleaning and tae kwon do and Kumon and getting ink for the printer. They are forced to live according to her rules and so they craft a life that puts her front and center: woods, water, sun…..and snow.
A wise neighbor with a cabin on Lake Superior warned me that getting work done up north may test my patience, no matter the season. “They have families and their season is short. They love the lakes and the woods just like we do and they’ll put that before your project – as they should. This will take longer than you think…..”
A cabin neighbor explained it like this: the north woods work week is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. “On Friday you go fishing. On Saturday you go fishing. On Sunday you go fishing. And on Monday you sleep off your hangover and eat fish.” He wasn’t complaining – he was just giving me a heads up that this is how it works.
I often check in with the Finnish Carpenter, trying to discern from afar where we are on this renovation timeline. And sometimes the answer is that’s it’s a beautiful day and he’s knocking off early to take his girls tubing on the lake. And just recently, as the seasons changed, he was taking his girls deer hunting. And as much as I don’t understand hunting and I pretend that it’s not happening, I’m like “Good for you Finnish Carpenter for getting your girls outside and letting them invade this male-dominated pastime.” A text this week confirmed that they came home with an 11 point. I’m told that’s good.
So if my project has to take a little longer because of living in tune with Mother Nature, well, okay then.
And instead of cursing the early onset of winter, I’ll quit fighting. I’ll quit hunching my shoulders and instead put on another scarf. I’ll live by the Finnish saying that warns “There is no bad weather. Just bad clothing.” I’ll look for the freaky peaceful things and I’ll rearrange my life to let Mother Nature be front and center – before getting ink for the printer.