This is a tale of two summer Saturdays. One that followed the other in the recent weeks that have passed. The first was Saturday, June 14. This Saturday takes place an 8-hour drive to the north of my home to the land of my childhood. To northern Michigan. My stepfather has passed away and so I’ve been beckoned back. The journey presents many challenges including lost relationships I’ve yearned to heal. Relationships with my brothers. A relationship with my mother. A chance to begin again.
Northern Michigan is a land of fairy tales at times with it’s endless miles of forests to explore and ribbons on rivers winding through. Life there is very simple. Dairy farms dot the land including the one I spent many hours at with my best friend. People live from the land with large vegetables gardens in many yards and a gun cabinet part of the home to bring the main course of the day to plate. Food is treasured here for the effort it requires. People are born there. Come of age there. Die there. The cycle repeats generation after generation. They treasure each penny that is hard earned and savor the smallest of indulgences.
The second Saturday follows on June 21. This Saturday takes place an 8-hour flight to the south. To the Dominican Republic. To a small resort perched on the northernmost coast of the Punta Cana beach that is a fairy tale of its own. A resort where their focus is on pampering and my very thought or utterance is responded to. A mere mention that I like bananas and within an hour bananas appear in my room. My room. My luxury tree house more aptly put. Climb the Robinson Crusoe wooden stairs to the thatched roof lined walkway to the portal to paradise. Inside a rainfall shower awaits along with a spacious balcony with a couch perfect for napping overlooks the ocean just steps away.
This world includes an endless parade of delicacies and beverages that magically appear. It includes helicopters that land on the beach and whisk people away on adventure. A few steps in one direction to grab a mask and fins followed by a few steps another and you enter a world of coral reefs and playful fish. This world where money flows like rivers. People here appear and disappear and others take their place.
These two worlds – one 8 hours to the north and one 8 hours to the south – are so different from one another. I live in between literally and figuratively. Part of me is pulled to return to each and part of me resists. To be near family and to connect with them in northern Michigan would be such a blessing. For my children to know their cousins, aunts and uncles would be a piece I’d love for them to have. I would miss the many things to explore that come with suburban living.
To live in a land of pampered plenty would seem, on the surface, a paradise. To look deeper would reveal a life of loneliness I suspect.
I’ve learned much in the last 2 weeks of traveling. One is that I’m far from perfect. Two is that a place to live is never perfect either. We can spend our days longing for here or there when what is best is to love where we are at this moment of time and love who we are with. Choose to be thankful for the blessings bestowed on us in this place wherever that may be and be alert for the lessons to be learned along the way. I am excited to return home and begin anew there forever thankful for the lessons learned and lessons yet to come!