I’ve mentioned , probably many times, in the past that I am from the Midwest. More specifically, my particular brand of moxie was cultivated in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. Despite the fact those roots are stretched across nearly 2,100 miles, there is a part of me that still craves green trees and rich, dark soil, and a bright blue sky piled with clouds. Taking Harper to visit my family, to eat a meal at the table where my grandfather used to sit and eat his oatmeal, and watching her learn to make kuchen from my grandmother is good for my soul. It reminds me where I am from and where I’m headed. Harper was 11 months old the last time she was there, but she had this freaky ability to pretty much map out the house in her head before we had even landed in Chicago. And she loves it. She loves the trees even though she thought they were broccoli from the airplane. She loves their little dog Lucy who was happy to oblige Harper’s excess of energy. She saw fireflies for the first time and even held one in her hand. She played games with her very patient older cousins. There was a day trip to Milwaukee, countless games of Solitaire, smashed pennies with Nana’s help, a Target run, a trip to the Albanese Candy Factory, and a view of Chicago that can only been seen from the 94th floor of the John Hancock building. And perhaps most importantly, a trip to Miller Beach to explore my most favorite place in this wide, wide world. Then we said goodbyes and boarded the Amtrak at Union Station in Chicago in route to Michigan.
My mom is from Michigan, and when I was a kid we spent our summers exploring five unkempt acres of land in Harrisville and at a cottage on the coast of Lake Huron. Now, we are far away and none of us have three months to spend together because there are bills and babies and other adultly things but we still feel the pull back to that place and know it’s important for us to be together, and for our kids to be together. We ate a lot of Superman ice cream, met a cow, played with cousins, ate wild raspberries, made trips to the Harrisville State Park for showers, ran from roosters, rode in the backs of trucks, swam in the cold cold lake, sized up our boots with Paul Bunyan, explored dirt roads, went deer spotting, and feel in love with the idea of nothing for miles but trees. As Harper would say “No houses, no cars, no signs, no mailboxes. We’re lost.” And isn’t that the best way to be?