February 10, 2023 — We are in the midst of deep winter when it takes work to find fresh social and physical activities to keep us stimulated. I think back to all the summer vacationers over the decades that incredulously asked me what I did in the winter? It is a legitimate question. For a while we had Covid evacuees hiding out up here during the winter to witness our long, cold, white season. I thought some of them might stay up here year after year for good, but no, the simpleness of the north is not for many and nearly all have moved back to the variety and culture and richness of the city.
This deep winter, after work and school, we’ve been taking Sonny on walks that start in light, but end in darkness. Colebrook joined me yesterday and we walked the desolate Lake Michigan shoreline west of Shalda Creek. We relished in Sonny’s energy and playfulness, while we broke thick ice sheets and kicked rocks down the icy beach with our big boots. All the while we talked State of the Union, geometry, and made predictions on the New Mexico crime show Breaking Bad, which gratefully, is the absolute opposite of our current lives in the north.
Our biggest break from deep winter is high school basketball games. Game days are sacred moments to be savored. We go to small towns across the north and sit in cozy gyms and cheer and celebrate every play, a few of which are made by my sophomore, Colebrook. But it is more than basketball. Yesterday, Ranae Ihme won a homemade baked goods raffle at halftime, and I walked around to find who from the host school made this dark mysterious cookie she gave me. It was an 88-year-old grandmother surrounded by a family of women so ready and proud to talk about family recipes, molasses and tradition.
I savored the conversation as much as the cookie.