Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?" William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

It is pouring rain as my headlights part the darkness along county road 407, a small paved road that snakes through miles of Jack Pine forests and connects Newberry to Grand Marais, Michigan in the eastern Upper Peninsula. I am still in shorts and a t-shirt from an unseasonably warm Ohio day when I arrive at the cabin, and I curse myself for my lack of forethought. I've already broken one cardinal rule of the great north woods: always be prepared.

I scramble onto the porch of the cabin in a futile attempt to evade the cold rain. The wooden door squeaks open, and I peer inside, flicking on the light switch but nothing happens. The power has been knocked out by the storm. Along with my warm clothes, my headlamp is also lost somewhere inside the labyrinth of boxes in the back of the Uhaul trailer. Along with the rest of my life. Luckily, I find a smaller headlamp in the console of my truck, strap it to my head and dart back onto the porch.

The small cabin smells like a familiar mix of burning wood and propane. It is only one room, 16x20, and made entirely of giant logs pulled from Hiawatha National Forest. The rain falls steadily on the tin roof, making the darkness feel even more lonely. There is a bed, a small wood stove, a simple table and chair set, a stove and fridge and a tiny bathroom. I sit down on the naked mattress, happy to have arrived after the ten hour drive.

This will be my home for the next five months.

I think of my children who are back in Ohio. What is it that makes a person feel at home in such a remote place? What is it that led me here to this tiny cabin near Lake Superior?

The wind picks up outside as the rain falls more intently on the tin roof. I snuggle up with my small spaniel/lab mix, Gracie, and try to sleep, but I am haunted by the things and people I've left behind and those yet to come.

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?  
O stay and hear! your true-love’s coming  
That can sing both high and low;  
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,  
Journeys end in lovers’ meeting—          
Every wise man’s son doth know.  
What is love? ’tis not hereafter;  
Present mirth hath present laughter;  
What’s to come is still unsure:  
In delay there lies no plenty,—          
Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty,  
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

1 comment:

  1. Oh you courageous woman of grit! Just keep doing the next right thing. The world needs to hear your story, and your story is unfolding. Love you, soul sista!


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