One of my favorite places in the entire world is the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. As we get within 50 miles of Lake Superior it starts to feel a lot like home. Yes, I know, I’ve got several places that feel like home including La Crosse, New Zealand, and the Big Island of Hawaii. When I go back “up north” my soul quiets, all stress subsides, and it’s an oasis of natural beauty and serenity.
If you haven’t been up to the UP before let me explain. The population density is very low. The forests of pine, birch, popple, and maple give way for beautiful rock formations and wetland marshes. There are rolling hills that are similar and yet very different from the Driftless. Throw in the beautiful Lake Superior and you can start to see the picture.
I first traveled to the UP to check out the Michigan Tech campus in Houghton while I was in high school. Each and every time I made that drive I’ve fallen in love with the area over and over again.
Michigan Tech was where I went for my first year of college, my first time living somewhere other than home. There was a time when I had much stress and struggles and the UP was where I went for a long weekend retreat. For a while I tried talking Becky into buying a place up here. I’ve often thought of opening an Express office up here just to have a reason to be here more often. I brought up a nice endurance run to Becky specifically because it meant a trip up here several years ago. I’ve completed two marathons in the UP. There are many memories we made with Dad up here as well on a few trips up here. So many wonderful moments, memories, and escapes up here.
Each time I’m up here my heart tells me I’m exactly where I need to be right at this moment. Just as it’s telling me again today. My soul just feels at home up here.
Do I still want to move up here like when I was younger? Nope; the winters are way too long for me. I think I’m finally realizing that the appeal to the UP is more of a retreat back to quiet and solitude. If this was an every morning thing it wouldn’t quite be the same. Hmm… food for thought for Future Mike when he reads this again sometime:
I appreciate it more specifically because it is a limited resource, my time here is finite. It is more easy for me to be grateful for the time I have up here specifically because I know it will end long before I want it to. I must enjoy each second, be in the present each second, and live each second here to its fullest. Funny thing, this is the view I should also have about life and time. Sometimes I don’t see it the same way as it feels so much more infinite as there’s not a scheduled date and time within a couple of weeks in which I know it will end. How can I remind myself more frequently that life is finite, my time is finite, and need to live with this in the front of my brain at all times. Never with a fear or worry for death, rather as a way to remind me to truly live in each moment. – Mike Kreiling, 6/22/2020
Whoa… that was deeper than I thought I was going today – sorry gang! I’m totally going to add a note in the title to give you a heads up that this was coming.
So here I am, home for the present. I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience the beauty and serenity of the UP again. My soul is already feeling recharged.
Ok – for reals – if you haven’t been up to the UP before please add Copper Harbor to your bucket list. Look it up, it’s amazing! Then again, pretty much anywhere along the coast of Lake Superior is amazing,