What I Know Today

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Day In The North Woods

So many of my entries on this blog have been about grief since we lost Henry. While that is understandable, the truth is that although a piece of my heart is gone from me, there is still a lot of living I need to do. I still struggle with some major separation anxiety when it comes to leaving Jack for any length of time (sometimes just leaving him with Papa so I can drive across town to visit my mom gives me anxiety). I tried to be brave and schedule a weekend away in Minneapolis to visit one of my best friends... a trip I took regularly and without thought before having kids... but I couldn't go through with it. Fortunately, God has blessed me with some pretty amazing friends, and this one in particular happens to have a family cottage in northern Wisconsin. He suggested we meet there for the day, and I accepted. I was relieved to have a day away, but still be close enough that I could rush home if something happened.

Maybe you're thinking that's crazy, but it's part of my process. And, let's face it. We're talking about Jack here. The kid who had to be life flighted to Milwaukee a month after his brother was because he fell with a toy in his mouth and did major throat damage. It was the same flight team that came for Henry. Exactly the same. Their faces turned ashen as soon as they rounded the corner in the hospital and saw us standing there. Or, more accurately, saw my husband standing there and me sitting near by in a wheel chair unable to breathe properly. I faint easily, and nothing brings on a spell like one of my babies in the hospital, so extra precautions are always taken.

At any rate, I spent the day up north yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I didn't dwell on being away from Jack. I trusted that he was in capable hands with his Papa and lived in the moment for the first time in a long time, and it was blissful.

My friend (Chris) and I spent some time at his family's cottage, had brunch, did a little shopping, a little driving, a little hiking, a little reflecting. It was perfect. He is always worried about not doing enough to entertain me when I visit, but it really was exactly the kind of day I needed.

Here is a photo I took of the road we traveled up as we approached the Cathedral Pines area in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. How gorgeous is that? 

There is a sign as you enter the trail area that tells you this: "This area, called the 'Cathedral of Pines', was preserved as a result of the efforts of Lucy Rumsey Holt who influenced her husband, logger W.A. Holt, to leave it as virgin timber. Mrs. Holt used this area to teach Bible studies to her children and did not want the area disturbed. This 200 to 400 year old white pine and balsam old growth stand is also home to a Great blue heron rookery."

I am always in such awe when standing in the presence of history. To think that these pines are between 200 and 400 years old is amazing to me. I can't help but think about the different people who have crossed this same path and touched these same trees, and what their lives might have been like. How equally amazed would they have been if they could have seen me there yesterday snapping photos with my iPhone!

Speaking of iPhone's, did you know that your photo will look like this if you point it directly at the sun?

Yeah, me neither. :)

Just to give you an idea of the size of the pines, here's a photo of an unsuspecting Chris giving one a hug, and another I took at the base of that same tree looking up.

We crossed paths with two women at this point and took a picture for each other. Ignore my cute little pose. I just wanted to be short for once in my life. We were a little loopy with these women we'd never met before. If you know me at all, you'll know "loopy" is not a far stretch from reality for me. *wink*

After leaving the pines, we visited a small dam. I couldn't tell you how to get there or what the name of it was, but the lake was gorgeous with all the fallen leaves in the water:

 Here is a shot looking the other direction (bottom of the dam, out towards the river):

Someone took the liberty to "decorate" the dam with silver spray paint. Seriously, don't even get me started. Lovely antecdotes, like, "JUMP!" spray painted at the top of the dam were scattered here and there. Although I don't condone this type of vandalism AT ALL, I thought the silver heart on this rock did make for an interesting picture...

Same river, a little farther downstream:

Back at the lake Chris's family's cottage is on, I was impressed by how clear the water is. Growing up on a larger lake that is mostly filled with greenish brown water and corporate waste, this was amazing to me.  This was taken at the small boat landing area:

And this is the view they see from their back yard. The good life, to say the least.

Despite all the trials we have been through, I can honestly say that life, and the God we serve, is good. As someone far wiser than me (and anonymous) once said: "At the end of the day you can focus on what's tearing you apart, or what's holding you together." I'm trying my best to stay positive, and focus on what holds me together: God, and His blessings of family, friends, and nature. I feel more comfortable now with the idea of traveling farther from home (but will still take baby steps, I'm sure), and I think Papa is more comfortable with it, too. Jack was largely unphased through my absence, but isn't that always the way? The one you worry about the most is the one who seems to notice the least!  



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