I leave to begin my journey in just over 48 hours.
I’ve been up north with my family for the past 4 days.
Today, July 4th, my country’s birthday, seemed like a good day to reflect on bravery, values, and life in general.
If you’ve seen the movie The Great Outdoors, with John Candy, then you have some understanding of what a week up north with my extended family is like. If you haven’t seen that movie, then you really should. It’s crazy in all of the best ways, and crazy in some of the shake-your-head-and-look-away ways, too. There’s been horseback riding and boat rides, mosquito bites and dog slobber, new faces and old ones, love and bickering. I think I speak for everyone involved when I say I gain at least 3 lbs per day when we’re up here thanks to the ever present flow of snacks, drinks, and rich meals. Tomorrow, we’re renting jet skis….I’ll let you know if we don’t all make it out of that experience alive. I cherish these sunlit weeks more and more with every year that I grow older. I’m not sure if age and maturity just better equip me to appreciate the many ways I’ve been blessed or if I sense the end of this golden age drawing nearer with every year that passes – nothing lasts forever – but one thing I am sure of is that this past week has been particularly special to me. I’m leaving soon, and I can’t, in all honesty, tell you exactly when I’ll be back. It is a thought that at once thrills and gives cause to grieve. These up north memories are among the most alive, vibrant, colorful, and precious I have. I’ll look back on them one day with all the fondness one person could possibly muster.
In the spirit of the day, we all piled onto our pontoon boat this evening and puttered out to Sand Lake to watch the firework display from a nearby resort. The fireworks were nothing to write home about, but the company was good and so were the cigars. After the show, we rode back to our pier slowly and deliberately, soaking in the spectacular sky laid out above us. Those not driving or holding a flashlight (crashing into shore might put a wrench in the works) counted shooting stars. We craned our necks and ooh’ed and ahh’ed as the bright flashes of light flickered in and out of our range of vision. One day that’s what I’ll do with my memories of this place, these times, and these people. These days that fly by without a seeming thought to those of us who’d like to hold them just a little longer and savor. They fly by all the same. I’ll look back with delight one day, count my precious shooting star memories, and they’ll bring me comfort. I’ll look back on a golden, vibrant time that, though fleeting, was enjoyed by all. As awe-inspiring as real shooting stars are, these memories will be even more so. I’ve been lucky in many ways, just one of which was to get the chance to spend this last week here, in my favorite place with the people I love most. My shooting stars. I’ll carry them with me always.