Saturday, July 24, 2010


Summer in Northern Michigan is busy. Busier than I like. There are too many people, too many events, the lines are too long, the traffic is too thick and the noises are too loud. In Summer, I crave becoming disconnected.

Being connected is so easy. All we need to do is just call someone up on our cell phone, even while we, ourselves, are on the move. Or, just stop by the neighbors for a visit. Or, just pop into the local grocery and chat with everyone we know or don't know in front or behind us in the checkout line. Perhaps we go to an event where we are surrounded by people we don't know, and still we have the connection of sharing whatever it is we are all there to experience. Daily, most of us just get online and share our life activities with everyone we know on one or more of the social networks to which we belong.

So I go north to fish. And yes, I go north to disconnect. My travels take me far enough that a phone call is impossible without getting in boat and/or a vehicle and traveling at least an hour. I usually have a cabin to myself and make choices about who I will or will not talk with on any particular day; that is, if there is anyone else in camp to talk with. The laptop stays home, unplugged and unused for as much as two weeks at a time. My Jeep, also unused, rests at the furthest point it can go before I must find other form of transportation. At some camps, I can drive as far as the cabin door, but often the boat launch or the train station is the final resting point for the driving part of my journey north. My cell phone, too, has no need to travel north. Phone, cell and computer access are all "technically" possible if I'm willing to travel at least a couple of hours, but my unwillingness means it's just not going to happen.

I sit on a bench in front of the cabin or on the cabin steps and enjoy "twittering" of a different sort as the Whiskey Jacks are all too happy to see me and share my breakfast, lunch or dinner. At 5:00 a.m., a cow moose wanders on the beach, past camp and I feel no urge to wake others to see the sight. I fall deeply into a novel I picked up at my local library in a rush out of town, no thought to its contents or who the author might be. In the moments of my reading, I am consumed. Now, a few weeks later, I can't tell you the name of the author or the title of the book. I eat breakfast with the rain clattering on the metal roof of the cabin, absorbed in a simple meal, thinking it's the best I've ever had, with no desire to share, to pass the recipe on, or even to make note of what I did so differently when I prepared this simple, familiar fare.

Brainwashed, we often think that everything we do or say is dependent on others listening and reacting. And worse, we often think that everything we do or say is important. Only when we dare to disconnect, are we able to enjoy our own company without placing much importance on our perceived value. It's oh so very worth it.