Superior State of Mind
Here at my family’s cabin on the shores of Lake Superior we have 1 towel, 1 twin bed, and a couple of bathing suits are worn from the time you wake up until the time you put your pajamas back on to go to bed.
Showers are taken in the lake, using whatever biodegradable shampoo happens to be around.
All my clothing fits into 1 carry-on suitcase but I will still return home with more clothes clean than dirty after my 3 week vacation.
We read novels by the dozen.
We celebrate Happy Hour with my Dad’s famous cocktails every day.
We take the time to talk and actually hear each other.
We exercise. We run on the beach, paddle standing up and sitting down, play volleyball in any combination using all of the able-bodied folks who are around on the beach.
We sleep well at night.
I don’t know why it always surprises me that life seems so much easier up here. So much brighter. So much better.
I forget over the course of the year that I sleep better on my twin top bunk than I do in my King size bed.
That holding my nephew brings me far greater joy than watching any reality tv marathon.
That the tan lines, the tangled hair, and the dents on my face after a good night sleep are all I really need.
“I’ve found that some of the simplest things have given me the most pleasure. They didn’t cost me a lot of money either. They just worked on my senses. Did you ever pick very large blueberries after a summer rain? Walk through a grove of cottonwoods, open like a park, and see the blue sky beyond the shimmering gold of the leaves? Pull on dry woolen socks after you’ve peeled off the wet ones? Come in out of the subzero and shiver yourself warm in front of a wood fire? The world is full of such things.” – Dick Proenneke
That and family.
And a full belly. Which we get every night thanks to my Mom.
She plans out our meals weeks in advance. Bringing up coolers full of special or rare ingredients from Chicago that cannot be found in the Northwoods. She dutifully prepares the appropriate meal every night. Watching out the window as we play volleyball until the sun sets.
We sit down for family dinner and savor food like we’ve never tasted it before. It’s because we’ve been splitting wood, raking yards, and rough housing with dogs that it tastes so good.
That, and my Mom is a damn good chef.
I find myself wanting to bottle this pure happiness and bring it back home with me. To open every time I get swept up by my normal life and the stress, short temper and anxiety that come with it.
What is it from this that I can hold onto?
What can bring home when I go back to my king size bed and full wardrobe in my city by the bay? What can I carry with me through my activities and obligations, the work that I love, the time spent with my friends.
What part of this, this simplicity here, can I bring with me?
Or maybe the better question is: who can I be to keep this mindset year long?
As one of my favorite clients says, “How can I be vacation Cary all of the time?”
I forget often times the simplicity of the mind. The deep soothing of thoughts that occurs when you stare at a horizon long enough.
“Somehow I never seem to tire of just standing and looking down the lake or up at the mountains in the evening even if it is cold. If this is the way folks feel inside a church, I can understand why they go.” – Dick Proenneke
I plan on taking my husband’s photo of the beach, the Milky Way, and the tiny plane dotting across the sky and hanging it over my desk.
It will remind me of the Great Water, the big sky, the tininess that are my problems, and the beauty of this simple life.