July 26th & 27th
The flat expanse of farmland and orange barrels lay stretched out before us. No bottles to mix, no diapers to check, no cries to soothe. “Shouldn’t I be DOING something?” my routines, patterns and habits wonder in confusion. I miss her.
The reminders of God’s love are obvious and unimstakeable.
The hearts and the countless trios of birds bear their reminder that everything is going to be alright.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.(John 14:1 ESV)
The farms gradually fade into forests of tall Northern pines and we begin scanning the horizon for the majestic spires of the Mackinac Bridge. At long last, we see them. I feel the familiar tinge of excitement I felt as a little girl. The bridge signifies that we are almost there; the same sparkle now reflecting in the eyes of my children.
Looking back at pictures from past Michigan vacations, this is my very first trip to Cedarville / Les Cheneaux Islands in 1973. I was about 2 or 3 months old here. 🙂 I reportedly rode up in a portable bassinet in the backseat of an orange VW bug. The bassinet was tied down with clothesline though, so I was safe, not to worry.
The crisp smell of cedar pine intermingled with boat fuel and a hint of fish, the quintessence of my very being. Home.
The sun is remiss and low clouds hover as we arrive at our destination. I look down and see the heart as soon as I step out of the car ~
By late afternoon a break in the clouds indicate that it is time for swimming. If the air temperature is registering in at a brisk 61°, you can only imagine how cold the water must be. They don’t currrrr ~
Although our grief is heavy, we are excited to be in this special corner of the world. It had become increasingly difficult to find rental properties up here to comfortably accommodate our ever growing family. This past December my parents announced to us that they had finally found and purchased a beautiful place to house all 17 of us, which then included Nora. Nora’s needs and comforts were taken into careful consideration and we couldn’t wait to bring her up here for her third vacation up North, her place of origin. There is even a fancy baff tub with jets in the downstairs bathroom. We were tearfully joyful at this awesome news.
So here we are. It is our first summer in this house of our own–even more beautiful than the pictures we had seen. What we had intended as respite from the daily grind, has now become a sanctuary to cushion our broken hearts together as a family. How incredibly blessed and thankful we are for all of the time and hard work that has gone in to making it all that it is.
Last year we were split up into different accommodations. It worked out, but it would have been nice to all be together. I haven’t yet had the strength to drive down the gravel driveway that leads to last year’s little cabin where we stayed with Nora. It would be exceedingly painful to be staying there or in the house where the rest of the family stayed. We spent a lot of time in the big house during the day with Nora. It would be so hard to sit in the same rooms, in the same chair that I rocked her in this same time last year. This new place is a fresh slate to create new memories, and a soothing refuge to reflect on the treasured memories of the past.
I watch in contemplative silence as a lazy mist rolls across the channels. She is with me in my heart.
Several generations of cousins, second-cousins, once, twice, thrice removed, aunts, uncles — greats and grand, etc. convene for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a relative’s lake house. Despite a couple of raindrops, it is a beautiful evening!
Heart-shaped puddle ~
Heading back to the house across the Kissing Bridge, the sun courts the horizon for their evening promenade.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
(Psalm 91:11 ESV)
We huddle around the campfire to seek protection from the boreal winds. We laugh. We love.