Sunday, June 11, 2006

our last hurrah

We left Friday morning for the North Shore with city things weighing on our minds: doctor and hospital questions, unfinished articles, deadlines. All that evaporates once you pass Duluth on Highway 61 and head north past Betty's Pies, Two Harbors, several state parks. You're under the spell of glittering Lake Superior, out the window to your right. And once you get to Grand Marais, it feels like you're in a different time and place altogether. They say Grand Marais is one of those places, like Connemara in western Ireland, where the veil between heaven and earth is thinner somehow, and I think it's true — of both places.

It was our last vacation before the baby is born. I couldn't do much hiking, but we had a splendid time, relaxing and reading at the edge of the lake outside our lodge (the Naniboujou Lodge, about 15 miles north of Grand Marais) in big red chairs, eating the most delicious breakfasts I've ever had on the North Shore. (The huge cinnamon rolls at the lodge are not to be missed — nor is the brightly colored dining room, which I am having trouble uploading, but you can see it if you click on the Web site link.)

We have a few rituals in Grand Marais. Every time we are there, for example, I buy a book at Drury Lane Books ...

Often, it's poetry or a book on gardening or whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. This time, I bought The Scent of God by Beryl Singleton Bissell (a new memoir by a local woman who used to be a nun until she fell in love with a priest, and they both left their respective vocations and got married). And because I'd bought my tenth book, I also got a free one, so I chose The Jane Austen Book Club: A Novel by Karen Joy Fowler. But I won't be starting either of them until I finish with the used paperback I picked up at the lodge — Anne of Ingleside, the sixth book in the Green Gables series. I'm loving it! Anne is the mother of six children now, and I love reading about what she's like as a mother. She's good-natured, patient and compassionate; and she encourages laughter and imagination in her big, cozy home. I hope I will be half the wonderful role model she is!

One of Steve's rituals is collecting the grey-blue rocks that are so ubiquitous on the North Shore. Our house is full of them. They sit in boxes in the basement and in glass dishes on shelves. He loves them so much. I myself prefer the colorful rocks, the ones that stand out on the beach, but he is always searching — with great passion — for just the perfect shape, smoothness and shade of grey.

He also loves to skip stones. He can make them go six or seven times along the surface of a good wave. He cannot wait to teach our son to do it!

The moonlight on the water was so breathtaking. All I could capture was a few blurry shots.

Today, we walked out onto Artist's Point at the tip of Grand Marais. It was such a beautiful day.

It has been hard to come home. But I know we'll be back before too long. And next time, we'll be able to share it with the third member of our little family. I can't wait!


Ellen said...

Wow, I had no idea how beautiful it is up there! It looked like it was warm too. My memories of Minnesota made me feel a little anxious when I saw the picture of you guys wearing T-shirts, but that's probably cuz I've only been there in the winter (except for your wedding). Em, could I visit sometime and go up there with you, Steve and co.? It looks like a place of the world that really calls to me. Oh, what kind of sunglasses are you wearing?

Christina said...

Wonderful pix and narration of a wonderful getaway! I, too, love the Duluth area. It offers such a powerful retreat! I really enjoyed your description of it. And though I'm much farther from being a mom, I have to admit I've also thought it would be a great place to bring Future Children : ) I love the image of Steve teaching your son to skip rocks.

That books sounds intriguing! The idea of a clandestine romance between nun & priest captures my imagination....And how great to learn a few mothering lessons from beloved Anne Shirley Blithe. I know you are such a creative and fun-loving woman that you will nurture your son's creativity just as Anne does.

Laura said...

Wonderful pics!!

Monkeymama said...

Sounds like a beautiful trip!

barbara said...

What a lovely weekend! Now I have a new vaction destination to long for, next time George and I go to Duluth maybe we can sneak up to Grand Marais; I love the north Shore! It sounds like just what you guys needed.

Good book choices too! I have fond memories of the Anne of Green Gables series. She's a redhead, you know! (I think...)

barbara said...

Please ignore my typos. it's the vicodin talking!

liz said...

What fun! Looks like a wonderful time.

And yes, Anne is most certainly a redhead! I should re-read book #6 again... perhaps not surprisingly, I find that I gravitate toward different books in the series depending on what's going on in my own life. In college, it was book #3 (Anne of the Island); recently it's been #5 (Anne's House of Dreams)... yes, I am obsessed. I bet that when I'm closer to having children, #6 will become my new favorite!