Ya der hey.

I love Upper Michigan. It’s where I was born, and although we moved when I was only three, I have very good memories of visiting there during my childhood. My parents were happy then- while they lived there. My dad was a different person.

I also love the U.P. because I’m a nature fanatic, and there are miles and miles of wilderness. Everything seems calmer up there. It’s beautiful.

I’ve mentioned how for a while when things were getting crazy, I didn’t want help and I didn’t want to get “better.” One night that changed.

Things had swung from high to low very quickly- without me even really realizing it. I would drive around for hours every day. One night I drove all the way to Chicago and back. I was really hurting… to the point that it scared me. That night I decided that I wanted to get better, that I needed to get better. I drove up to my mom’s on a whim. She wanted me to go into the hospital. I decided I wanted to go to the U.P. instead.

I was looking for peace. I was looking for understanding. I was looking for clarity.

I found this couple that let me rent one of their little cabins for a low price since it was the middle of the winter. It was right on Lake Superior just a few miles away from the Porcupine Mountains.

While I was there, I felt joy for the first time it what felt like forever. I felt inspired by the beauty of my surroundings. Every day I would either hike or snow shoe. At night I would read Emerson, Thoreau, or Frost. I wrote and wrote… I wracked my brain for ways to get better, to start functioning again. I forced myself to eat.

One day I was hiking through the woods and came to a partial clearing. Emerson’s words echoed in my brain: “In the woods lies perpetual youth.” The next words that popped into my head were: “Let yourself heal… let yourself heal.” I felt hope for the first time in what felt like forever.

But even while I was there I still struggled. At night my heart would be encompassed in anxiety and sadness… fear… I knew I was in a dark place, but I didn’t realize how much help I truly needed.

One day, I was looking for a trail to go snowshoeing on. I took a road that wasn’t plowed as well as the surrounding roads, but it looked okay. I drove about five miles before deciding to turn around. As soon as I stopped to put the car in reverse, I was stuck. The snow was deeper than it looked; it was just packed down really tightly.

So here I am, in the middle of nowhere with no one around, about 5 miles away from any major road… and my car is stuck. Hm.

Now, the UP is pretty dead during the winter (harsh weather!) except for snowmobilers and skiers. I figured someone would come along and give me a push. I knew that once my car started moving I could get it to the main road.

Sure enough, about ten minutes later a group of snowmobiles approached. They stopped, seeing some college girl in an old beat-up car. It took three of them rocking my car to get it moving.

Problem solved, right? Not exactly…

The main road was five miles behind me. Ahead of me was several more miles of unplowed road and probably nothing else. The men pushing me said that they didn’t think they could get my car turned around… hence, I would have to reverse back to the main road… five miles away.

So here I am, reversing down the slippery road… knowing that if I go to slowly, I’ll get stuck.. but if I go to fast, I’ll slide right off the road and really be stuck. My neck is getting cramps from looking behind me. I’m getting queasy from my nerves and from the bumps and backward motion. Did I mention the road was full of curves? Yeah. Five miles. In reverse.

It was traumatic! But I did make it. I immediately pulled over to the first place there was a bathroom (a hotel) and sat in a stall for twenty minutes and tried to calm my queasy stomach. I took deep, deep breaths. The rest of the afternoon I spent lying down, reading.

Needless to say I didn’t drive down any more questionable roads. And the only consolation I had was that it would make a good story to tell….

Although after returning from the U.P. things continued to get worse, I did find a little peace, a little understanding, and a little clarity up there. My trip to the U.P. marked the beginning of my journey forward, it marked the beginning of me starting to fight for my life.

Is there a place that symbolizes something important to you?