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The Day’s Delight: The Long Way


It seemed a little silly to drive halfway up the Trail just to get a $7 microwave. (Smallish, white, just what I was looking for. Bonus old school dial). But why not? I used to drive double that once a week to get groceries and a dose of socialization.



It was sprinkling and gray, but a summer gray that made the leaves all stand out in a richer green on familiar hills that rose up around familiar bends.



I’d never been to Okontoe before, and it was a parallel universe sort of feeling to follow the directions back (and back… and back) into the woods: left at the fork, past the gardens, along the lake, over a small bridge, beyond the campsites and the chapel… I kept thinking of how much work it must have been to haul building materials back here, to unload and transfer Sysco orders at the dining hall (my destination), and how at the canoe camp I lived at a number of lifetimes ago everything was loaded onto a pontoon and boated over to the island, then hauled up the hill in homemade Duluth Packs. Ridiculous, but somehow important– to do it the hard way? To only have the hard way as the option? I’m not sure, but there’s a chop-wood-carry-water-ness to it that forces you to be present in your life Right Now. There’s no speeding things up or taking a shortcut because there simply is no shortcut.



But I was going to write about the gold crushed velvet armchair I got for free from the woodshed, and which barely fit into my Prius (and which I had an even harder time getting out). I was going to say that the reward for driving 60 miles round trip for an old microwave was this incredible Rumpelstiltskin-esque find.



I think it’s all the same thing: pontooning groceries, bouncing lumber down a winding, muddy road, taking the long way to get what you’re looking for because it just feels like the way to do it this time, and then seeing what you could only see exactly Now: velvet chairs and lush orange foxes and green heaving hills and calm silver bays.



So, yes, I love the chair, and, yes, I loved the drive, and, yes, I’m going to keep hauling my life onto this island, this homestead, this neck of new-to-me woods as it comes. (Now I just have to convince the cat that the treasure I brought home is not, in fact, a scratching post).


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