What Do You Do Up There?

This weekend I received the news. My sister wanted to bring the whole family and visit over the summer. This would include my sister who has spent her adult life in the fast moving corporate world; her boyfriend the Iron man athlete and international traveler; and three 20 years old boys whose hobbies I’m not going to pretend to understand. One one hand I want them to visit. The other hand is wise enough to know one person’s utopia is another person’s hell.

I warned her the trip she had in mind would differ greatly from her vision. Where she lives an impulsive ice cream treat is 5 minutes away. For us the same adventure is a 45 minute one way drive that happens only after the car is loaded with backup clothes because at any given moment it might snow or rain or hail or the car may get pushed off the road by a strong wind. By the time the car is loaded, we’ve figured out that it would have been easier to pull out the ice cream maker, call a neighbor to bring the toppings and have a friendly night at home. My definition of eating out has changed to going to the senior center and chatting it up with the 70-80 year olds or going to the neighbors for a pot luck lunch.
She in her corporate wisdom immediately discerned the back pedalling and dug a little deeper, “What do you do up there?” Previous visitors have said it is so quiet here the silence hurts. Maybe I did when we were younger, but now we are older and get along, I do not want to hurt my sister.
Before talking to her I was watching the surprise snow flurries dance in our front yard. Our house is a reverse snow globe. We can sit in front of the window for hours and watch the weather. If it isn’t snow, it’s the clouds drifting or the wind changing the shapes of the snow drifts. How do you describe that to someone who creates their own atmosphere?
Today, our morning entertainment centered around a gopher. The arrival of the gopher in February is a foreign concept to us. On several occasions the Mr. Has stopped mid sentence and shifted the focus of the conversation to the gopher. First it was request for confirmation that the gopher existed. Then it was calculations on what he needed to do to defeat the gopher. Two days ago a cat appeared in our yard. Now it is a question of whether or not he can get the gopher before the cat. It is a man vs, nature conflict that would make Jack London scratch his head, but it is a conflict nonetheless.
It is now 1:00. We had lunch with a neighbor and the Mr. has decided the gopher needs up close attention. He is gallivanting Elmer Fudd style in the yard, and I am sitting in front of the window, computer on my lap taking in the sights.
And the realization that I have been changed into a writer is sinking in. Life in the country can not be described in a sound bite. There is more than can be told in a Sunday conversation. Until you’ve lived a day long conversation on one topic and be completely engaged because no two comments are the same, it doesn’t make sense.

And so I close this blog hoping beyond hope that when my family comes to the far, far north they’re able to feel the depth of love this community shares towards each other, or the joyful anticipation that comes when hearing a truck drive down the dirt road. Most important they’ll see the picture God has painted via the landscape and be inspired to believe that busy or quiet the world in which we live is a good one. Until the next adventure…

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