The days are getting shorter. And colder. The breeze tousles leaves that are already beginning to yellow and ravens caw where songbirds once chirped.
It’s a sign that the winter is coming to the North Shore. And that I’m poetically dramatic about seasons changing.
But it’s not just the seasons that are changing. It’s my whole world.
As I write this, my countdown until the big move strikes 18 days.
Where to, you may ask? Back to civilization. I’ve loved my stay on the North Shore. It’s been a roller coaster. Ups and downs. I got a car. I got inspired. I got my first speeding ticket. I got a girlfriend.
The summer is beautiful. Filled with treks and adventures.
The winter is a cruel bitch, cold and lonely. Desolate. If you’ve never really felt the whole “The Shining” thing, well, book a basement room in hyperboreal Minnesota.
I’ve grown to love my cousin’s kids that I babysit–dare I say I may even miss them!–something that I never thought possible.
When I moved up here I thought for sure there were 2 things I couldn’t do: be responsible for a child and serve at a restaurant.
I’ve done all that. To the max. Trust me.
Did I write a book up here? No. Did I get a lot of writing done? Yes. Was it quality? Double yes. Was I impressed with what I got done considering I average 60-something hours per week at work? Yes.
I took a couple editing gigs. PAID editing gigs.
I ran across a river via a fallen birch tree. Climbed up a waterfall. Climbed down a mountain.
I took up jogging. And trail-running. I dragged my ass to a gym religiously for the first time. I lost30-some pounds.
I learned to make a proper margarita and a dirty martini. I learned to tend a bar.
I found out I could be in the same room with people that had been hooked on drugs harder than marijuana. I found out I could even be best friends with them.
I found out how to make friends all over again.
I discovered humility. I shed my pride. I walked out to a lighthouse at midnight and watched waves crash against jagged rocks.
I found out what the stars really look like.
I met people from Peru, Brazil, India, Turkey, Romania, and Poland (to name only a few.) I worked with them. I drank with them.
I realized flannel is a good look. Also, it’s not all about looks.
I can live without Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Applebee’s. Co-ops aren’t just for hippies.
There are more things in life to do than buy stuff at Target and watch TV.
These things might sound like vague generalizations, but I’ve done them all. And, sad as it is to admit it, I hadn’t done them before.
I’m 27-years-old. I’ve finally grown up. Sort of.
I’m not done. I have just under 3 weeks left and I plan to make the most of it. So, here’s my North Shore bucket list:
[X] Make it to The Other Lighthouse.
[X] Make it to the casino in Grand Portage one last time.
[ ] Take the ferry to Isle Royale.
Hike [ ] Cascade, [ ] Devil’s Kettle, and the [X] Kadunce again.
[ ] Walk from my house to Cutface Creek.
[X] Drink the night away with Karel at the Gunflint Tavern. Drink my last “Anne Bonnie.” (You really should try one.)
[X] Buy HP Sauce.
[ ] Eat all my favorite meals from my restaurant:
[X] Shore Lunch Benedict [X] Southwest Chicken Fettuccine [X] Beef and Blue Flatbread).
[ ] I’d really like to see what lies at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
I’m a changed man, it’s true. I’ve still got a lot of growing to do. I never finished my skateboard. I didn’t get anything published.
But I can.