What Comes Next

We’re leaving again tomorrow. Packing up the car, standing on the back bumper, the front seat, elbows resting on the car roof, working to secure roof rack to roof. Towels, swimsuits, pastel pink life jackets tucked amongst suitcases with a week’s worth of clothing, six times over. They tell me that Wisconsin is just as beautiful, just as full of wonder and beauty and northern eccentricities as is Michigan. And maybe that’s true, but Michigan feels magical, enchanting, rustically, wistfully extraordinary, and we’ll drive through Wisconsin, six hours up until an unceremonious stateline crossing, and then, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we will have arrived.

Eight days in the UP. Last summer, visiting in May, the chill of spring still held tight to the water, the trees, the very air. Once, twice, we donned wetsuits, pulling thick neoprene sleeves over still-pale shoulders. We boated, then, bumping haphazardly over the icy water in inflated tubes. That afternoon, sore fingers thawed, blue feet warmed, I laid in the grass between house and lake, the sun above cutting through the towering pine trees, falling in warm puddles of orange across the wide lawn, creating dappled patterns across my legs.

Eight days, two days home, and then I’ll drag boxes of books, papers, school-approved wall hangers out from their summer resting place in the basement. The minifridge I babysat for The Neighbor, the wicker baskets I’ve filled with toiletries, scarves, hair supplies. The rose quilt I fell in love with at the ocean-side consignment shop in Monterey Bay. Most of the contents of my closet; shirts, skirts, dresses, dangling from their hangers, waiting to be hung once more. It all goes in the car, its red body resting heavily on dull black tires.

I’ll fill the car, and I’ll drive back downtown once more. Back to school for one more semester. My last set of four months spent living in that sixth floor dorm room. Like an oversized shoebox with a window, we’ll divide the room: you’re desk and mine, your closest and mine, your bed and mine, working together to color the wall anything but dingy off-white; working to make it our own space.

And then classes will start, moving through, amongst, occasionally against the flow of 1600 others doing the very same thing. And then… and then… and then…

There’s a next and another, and school will follow soon; something that I love and look forward to. But there will be days, soon, to anticipate that, to live that. But first, what comes next, is Michigan days and dark, crisp nights under the northern sky. What comes next is the last days of my summer, days of playing and working and family and visits and friends. What comes next is what I’ll think about. And all the rest?

Well, that will come later.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Road Trip Randy
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 23:20:46

    Enjoy the UP! I’m from Michigan (the LP), but live in California now. It’s always great going back to the Mitten. I like how you described it.


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