Anyone who knows me well understands that I pretty much always want to be anywhere but here. Certainly I am here, but my head is usually in the clouds dreaming of faraway places, countries where I could be working and playing and living and loving. But plans don't always work out the way you thought they would and life moves in mysterious ways. You don't always turn into the next Sebastian Junger or Annie Griffiths, you don't always write the great American novel. There are no guarantees.
But it's certainly not with a heavy heart that I remain here in Minnesota. Yes, I complain bitterly each year as the gales of November come early, yelling "I'm moving!" to anyone within earshot, but I have a million reasons to love living here as well. I love my family, my friends, my sweetie, my gigantic kitty and just the quality of life here in general. Still, I need reminding now and then just why I haven't left my birthplace. This past week I received that reminder, in spades, during a two day vacation on the North Shore (that's local speak for the stretch of shoreline on Lake Superior that runs northeast of Duluth). Even during this cold month, when the leaves have blown away and the grass has faded, the beauty of this area of northern Minnesota cannot be denied. At one point during a drive from the lodge where we stayed in Beaver Bay north to Grand Marais, I couldn't help but think that the beauty was so alarming that people living on the other side of the world could come here and be bowled over by what they saw, by what they were missing back home. That's the reminder I need to take with me, that as beautiful as the rest of the world is - the pyramids and the walls and the mountains and the seas - that same beauty resides right here under my nose, just waiting to be encountered.