Life in a Northern Town

A Photo Safari in the Porkies

The backlog of blog posts continues to grow (I keep eating and taking photos but can't seem to find the time to edit and write) and I've committed to try and spend a few hours a week on my website. Since it's technically spring and that means green will soon replace white in Bayfield, I thought these shots from our photo safari in the Porcupine Mountains a few weeks before Will left for Madison were appropriate.

Will's home for spring break and we went back to the Upper Peninsula today for another photo safari (at this rate, I'll get those photos edited sometime in August) and we were remarking that he's almost done with his freshman year...time has flown by.

What a difference 7 months makes -- he's had a great year and I've learned that sending kids away to college doesn't kill a person after all. These photos are a sweet reminder of our last photo safari in 2016 -- before Will struck off on his own and I became a mother of two college students. 

It was a humid and cloudy day and there were mushrooms everywhere. 

We hiked down to the Lake of the Clouds but it was the mushrooms that got my attention -- there were a wide variety and they were tucked into small spaces, scattered on the forest floor and perched on the tree trunks. 

Water drops suspended on a blade of grass. 

These were the most delicate looking mushrooms; their caps were balanced on impossibly thin stems. It was a feat of natural engineering that they were upright. 

We stopped in a meadow that used to be a school yard when Nonesuch was a active mining community and encountered these Suessian-looking flowers. 

We hiked down to Nonesuch Falls and found these old stone foundations along the way. 

The little worlds that exist amidst my oh-so-human fuss and bluster help me to be mindful and remember that magic is everywhere....even when I'm not looking. 

Cedar embracing stone. 

"Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go - to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made." David Whyte

I struggle with change, especially when it involves my kids growing up and leaving home, and I spent a good portion of this afternoon in the Porkies thinking about dropping Will in Madison and then turning the car north, without him. I wish I could say I had some sort of epiphany in the woods that August day that settled my mind and heart but I didn't....and as it turns out, I don't need epiphanies to muddle my way through letting go. I just need to be brave. Brave enough to know that Will would be fine (and trust me, it's clear that Madison is exactly where he belongs) and that he'll carry the smell of damp pine needles, the sounds of running water and the memories of tiny mushrooms nestled in the crooks of giant red pines with him as he moves along. He knows to stay close to the way he was made.