This past weekend, my family took a day trip to Northern Minnesota. It was the first time we’d been together in six months and wanted to celebrate. We gathered our belongings, grabbed coffee at the local shop, and drove two hours to the port city of Duluth. After a brief picnic lunch on some boulders at a little park along the shore of Lake Superior, we continued along the North Shore–enjoying views of the lake through the pine forest.
Our mission? Hiking. We did a 6 mile loop on the Superior Hiking Trail along the Split Rock River. The trail was muddy and nearly impassible at points. After attempting to skirt around the edges, I gave up and slopped through the mud. It reminded me of the footpaths in England and wished I had a pair of trusty Wellies. By the end of the day, my legs were crusted in a layer of slime. Continue reading →
My coat wasn’t quite warm enough, but I hardly cared. Perched on my rock, it was not the bite of the wind that took my breath, but the blue of the water stretching for miles before my feet.
Duluth, Minnesota is an old industrial town. Perched on the Westernmost tip of Lake Superior, it’s an important harbor and port for ships bringing goods and services across the Great Lakes. Before settling to soak in the view, I had the pleasure of watching one of the enormous freight ships slip into the harbor, skirting gracefully under the iconic lift bridge. Strolling along the boardwalk, old manufacturing warehouses and mills (now hotels, shops, and restaurants) on one side and, on the other, the endless lake. I’ve been coming to this city since I was a little girl. The boardwalk, the worn brick buildings, the lake–they’re all part of me.
My nose was beginning to run, but I perched along the shore anyways. In that moment, soaking in the beauty of the sunlight glistening on the waves, a deep peace settled over my spirit.
The past few weeks have been a torrent of upheaval–from persisting unhappiness to my job to arranging to leave the country in January to terrorist attacks and political strife.
It felt so good to get away, to sleep in a bed twice the size of my own, to eat pizza in front of a hotel TV as my brother gushed about Star Wars. It felt good to look out my window and see city, not forest or fields. It felt good o walk along the boardwalk, to sit on the rocks, to watch the ships come into harbor.
It blows me away how crazy this world is. Things are always changing and I am no exception. I don’t know what the adventures ahead have in store. I don’t know how my experiences will shape me and who I will become. This both terrifying and liberating.
I can’t help but think of the quote from which this blog is named:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Moments like these ones, silently dwelling in the places that have known me for so long, give me the courage to take that leap. The peace that dwells in my innermost being gives me the strength to see what’s out in the world and discover who I’m going to be next.
I’ll let you in on a secret, readers. This Christmas series has been exhausting. After school ended, I thought life would settle down. I thought things would be smooth. And I thought a week-long blogging Christmas blitz was a fantastic idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved writing the Tis the Season posts every day. It’s been a big challenge, planning and writing what I hope have been fun, insightful themed posts every day. I definitely feel like I accomplished something that I’m incredibly proud of. But, outside the world of blogging and Christmas, the world goes on.
In the past week, I finished my semester, had my wisdom teeth removed, attended a terribly awkward family gathering, and spent two days traipsing around Duluth, MN in the rain. I’ve had one day of true vacation, three days of mouth pain in pajama land on the couch, a day of socializing with people I really don’t care about, and two days on the road. It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong. But boy… blogging on top of all of this has me plumb worn out.
So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I encourage you to take some time in rest. As crazy as the past week has been, I find myself in these little quiet moments reflecting on all the blessings in my life. There is so much to be thankful for. So today, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I encourage you to take a minute to be still.
Also, the Oh Hello’s “Family Christmas Album” is one of the most spectacular holiday arrangements I have ever listened to. Get comfortable, press play, close your eyes, and let the music flood over you.