The Great North Shore Adventure

In Gather

Time is an elusive creature. Covid has made her impossible to understand.

This moment.

These are the principles and concepts that are rolling around in my mind. Framed with parenthood as the backdrop as I bear witness to the struggle of my children in these uncertain times. We felt it in our bones the need to reconnect and step away for a heartbeat. Three college friends, eight kids and five days away (of course adhering to proper guidelines to prevent the spread of covid).

So we packed our cars full of good food and good people and headed north.  First stop, the Gatherhaus farm.  Then a journey along the shore of gichi-gami enjoying the open skies and peaceful woods.

We blasted dance music, smooth jazz, oldies, and hip hop. We played musicals and folk music. We danced in the rain, climbed rocks, observed comet Neowise, swam in rapids and swimming holes, climbed trees, trekked through the woods, roasted marshmallows, cooked over the open fire. We biked as the sun came up and sang around the campfire as the sun set. We marked our time together with laughs, stories, home cooked meals, card games, journeys along dirt roads, and late night confessions.

After a day of cooking and adventuring, while the sun was dipping lower in the sky, I sat for a moment at the fire ring to allow the moment to be held. I put folk music on the bluetooth speaker, grabbed a cold ginger beer, took my shoes off to rub my bare feet in the grass. The boys were all out bushwacking a trail and feeling powerful. The giggles from the older girls could be heard in the willows as they made their “Clan fort”. The two little girls discovered an old plank of wood, picked up charcoal from the fire the night before and played pictionary in the prairie. They were covered in soot and dirt and smiles and filled with joy. Their mom was out on the tractor mowing a field, a dream she has had since childhood. Kat and I sat under the big sky soaking it all in. Everyone was living their best life in that moment and doing what brought them joy. Being able to experience that was my own personal joy. That moment right there: outdoor adventures, exploring, experimenting, resting, experiencing the natural world in all its splendor and wonder was what this whole trip was about.

That week we toasted our beer and whisky to love. The kind of love that will do anything to hold onto what matters the most, and let the rest slip through our fingers. The little ones ran wild to keep in step with the older ones. The big kids pointed out crooked branches, trickling water ways, crinkled leaves, burrowing bugs, and spider webs. They were explorers for days discovering the wilderness with unrestricted abandon. As we walked trails, built forts in the willows, played cards, and shared recipes together, we basked in the art of storytelling. We passed down embarrassing moments, lessons learned, hilarity in our mishaps, and the adventures we logged in when we were younger. Where stories grow in fantasy to become folklore.

There is something beautiful about children sitting in the story telling circles of lifelong friends. The art of friendship that reflects truth and grace. We pass down our life and wild spirits in these moments through adventure, time and connection. They are passed on like grandma’s favorite recipe or your mother’s ring.

As people and parents, we are holding isolation, being homebound, cancelled dreams, close quarters, weariness, anger, loss, anxiety, to name a few. It felt critical to create light and wide open space in contrast to the slow creeping darkness we were all feeling in varying shades. Time is fluid and unable to be contained, and in the constant flux and unease of these times we chose to seize a moment and claim it as ours.  We made the most of that time.



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