June 2, 2021
I just made a short visit to a place three degrees of latitude farther north. That’s not much for seasoned travelers, but it served to remind me that my home is only halfway to the equator. The farther north you go, the more the spring season is compressed into a few fleeting days. (We had our share of frosty weather last month, but at least we don’t have a Great Lake messing with our temperature.)
This place was two weeks behind schedule, relatively speaking. Mom and I found we could watch certain spring phenomena unfolding again. Lilacs that would be brown and tattered back home were in their fullest bloom outside of our hotel. Some friends announced that they were going on a “smelling walk” to enjoy a perfect Saturday with four senses. I felt their joy, knowing how long they must have waited for warmth to return.
I was a resident of this northern place a few short years ago. (Most of those years were winter.) On this trip, if I ignored the signs of a global pandemic, I could almost participate in a second form of time travel and step back into that role. Other times, though, change was harder to overcome. I asked for a favorite item at the local bakery and was told, “We haven’t made that in YEARS!”. After that, I felt more like my current self — but I pictured the Grace from back then walking alongside me.
There’s no question that said place is sacred to my life. I hope I can always make return visits. The endless lapping of waves on the shore of Gichigami helps me focus when I have significant decisions to make.
However: I’m glad to live in the south, where the gratification of spring isn’t quite so delayed.
P.S. My recent poem, “Regionalism”, is in this month’s edition of Voice of the River Valley along with a picture of some kind of wood nymph. Click here to read.