Friday, July 11, 2014

Door County

This week, we went to Door County, Wisconsin, a little spit of land that juts up into Lake Michigan.  We had spent a wonderful 4th of July holiday with our dearest of friends in Shawano, and then decided to continue on to Door County on our own.

We stayed at a wonderful little place in Fish Creek called Julie's, which backed right on to Peninsula State Park. A peninsula on a peninsula.  We could literally roll out of bed and onto the bike trail in the park.

The first morning, we all biked together. The morning was filled with a few small annoyances, though.  Maren's bike tire was flat and would not hold air.  So we switched bikes and I rode Andy's, with Zane trailing behind, Maren took mine, and Andy headed to the bike shop across the street, not open for another hour.  The trail was full of mosquitoes, and for every small stop, we were swarmed.  Maren took a bad spill, scraping up her palm and twisting her ankle.  We stopped at the light house and then  made it to Nicolet Beach to wait for Andy to join us, where Zane and Toby quickly got soaked.  All in all, it was a good morning together and we enjoyed the ride.

Unsteady hand while riding

The next morning, however, it was chilly and drizzly and Andy had a work call, so I went out on the trail by myself, leaving the kids to watch TV.  I hadn't brought a sweatshirt, but luckily I was able to fit into a boy's size 10-12 (snug, but warm).  It felt exhilarating to fly down the trail all by myself, with no one to wait for, no kids jockeying for first position on the trail.  It might have been the weather, but the trail was virtually deserted.  The gray day only accentuated the leafy green cloaked forest, and I felt joyful and peaceful to be out.

When I got to the end of the peninsula, the beach was deserted.  A white stone walkway extended into the water on Nicolet Bay, and I biked right down onto it, then threw my bike down and lay prostrate on the white stone, starting to process all the sensations my body was taking in. The sounds of the shrieking gulls, the trilling song birds, and wind brushed leaves. The gray clouds with light bursting through in spots, the tall green oaks, birches, and maples, the steely waves, the islands in the distance. Then I closed my eyes to see what I could feel.  The wind blowing on my face, the coolness and solidity of the rocks underneath my legs and back. And then I noticed the pounding of my heart. And in that instant, a rush of awe, delight, and joy.  My own self, my body, me.  I was in a lush, alive, beautiful corner of the world, and I was part of it.  I was united with something much bigger and more majestic than just myself. And I felt so lucky to be there and to have that moment.
Looking out over the bay

It's been a challenging few weeks for me with sad and divisive news coming from inside my church.  I want my church to be a place where the Kates and other questioners have a home and don't feel stifled and bullied into silence or disengagement.  I feel a little at sea, wondering where and how I fit in. Being out there, on the bay in Peninsula State Park, was a glory and a grace.  I have no answers, but I have my beating heart, re-centered so often by the trees and the flowers, the sky and the stars, the wind and the waves.

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