Our family has spent every Labor Day for the past ten years at my aunt’s cottage in northern Michigan. It sits at the end of a dirt road and on the edge of Manake Lake, where cell service and internet and television are completely, blissfully unnecessary. Last year I didn’t make it up there, but this time around, I knew I couldn’t miss it. I knew my soul needed it.
I spent four days alternating between laying in the hammock with a good book, swimming, eating, laughing with 20 family members – parents, siblings, spouses, uncles, aunts, cousins, dogs. I’m sunburnt, but for every sting of red skin I smile a little at the memories made, the yard full of tents and RVs, the hugs and talks and jokes and boats and bonfires and meals and tears and the last rays of summer enjoyed before autumn is upon us.
I think in removing myself from the internet and work and obligation, I finally gave myself permission to feel. I even gave myself permission not to write. It would have been lovely to get up before everyone else and sit on the porch swing and let the words pour out of me so that I can have a stockpile of blog posts and articles, but I let myself sleep instead.
It has been a strange, busy, stressful, frustrating season, one that I have been desperate to get past and also desperate to learn from. I don’t think I understand my life any better than I did a week ago, but I did realize that clarity and peace aren’t always achieved in words, even though I am a writer. No, despite my desperation to achieve, succeed, survive, overcome, conquer whatever I face, I am learning to accept that sometimes the hardest thing to do is also the most necessary.
This is the season for letting go.
[Photo of Manake Lake courtesy of my brother.]