#onlyinMN

In a few minutes I’ll be heading to the Grand Marais Farmers Market. Just the thought lights me up like a Christmas tree. The fresh coffee, the baked goods–there’s this one lady who makes these, I don’t know…bars, I guess. They’re phenomenal–the birdhouses, the polished rocks, the crafts. I think if I’d have been scheduled to work today, I’d have quit my job.

A week early.

Yeah, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. I’m leaving the North Shore. Again. Why? Because it’s now or never. It’s truly now or never. I’m falling in love with this place, and it’s not the good love. It’s the “I feel so safe I never ever want to leave” type of love.

I mean, why do people leave anywhere, right? Greener pastures. The chance for your hopes and dreams to come true. The chance for adventure.

But for the last 5 years, I’ve had adventure. I’ve had more adventure than I could handle. I walked out my front door everyday into adventure.

Where am I going? Closer to the Cities. Not in the Cities, because that’s insanity, but closer. The job market’s looking good. The jobs I wanted to do didn’t even exist last time I was looking, so things are on the upswing. Economy. Family. Friends.

That’s the surface answer, right? The one you tell a stranger at cocktail parties. The truth is, I’m lonely. It’s extreme solitude up here. I used to want that more than anything. But now it feels like I’m hiding. Like I’m on the lamb, as the flatfoots might say. I’m not. I’m just a victim of the Grand Marais Bug. The endless lake that feels so much like an ocean, that when I finally visited the real ocean for the first time a month ago, I was like, “Yeah? And?” The bluffs and mountains that I drive through daily. The seemingly infinite rivers running off walls of red rock, trickling down and catching the sunlight. The foxes I see almost weekly. The look on out-of-towners’ faces–that jealousy–that I get to live here. Permavacation.

And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m not appreciating it as much as I should anymore.

But…I’m going to make it up to you, Grand Marais. I have one week. I’m going to explore every corner. Breathe deep at every stop. Drink in these last few moments as a resident. I’m going to put my phone down and just remember you the old fashioned way.

The town that saved me. The place that held my hand while I wrote my book. The spot on the map that I didn’t even know existed that made me remember what it was to be alive. I owe you one.

But first, coffee and some of those bar thingies.

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