U.P. Thursday

I’m like a kid gone feral in the summer.

At night, my dog sleeps on the pants and shirt I leave in a pile next to my bed and in the morning I consider putting the same clothes back on. I don’t always, usually I swap out the shirt for a clean one. It is weirdly endearing to me that my dog sleeps on my pants and sometimes I consider curling up next to him. He looks that cozy.

Today’s morning was spent painting the dilapidated wood shed next to our house. Not really a shed, just a roof and a floor, the wood shed houses a small pile of firewood and every blessed scrap of wood we’ve ever encountered. This includes old, fallen apart birdhouses, boards with rusty nails, and branches chopped from trees that overhung the driveway. It’s a mess. I ignore that, however, in my determination to enliven the wood shed with a new coat of paint.

Amazingly, my husband went to the hardware store, clad in his camo mask, and got exactly the right shade of brown for the wood shed. When I opened the paint can, the paint looked gray and I was vexed right away but then I put down the first stroke and the color was perfect – how he saw the gray in the brown, I’ll never know.

I love painting but I am very bad at it. Well, not bad, but extremely messy. Within minutes, I had paint splotches on both hands and my shirt, but still the beauty of the new paint covering all the weather and worries of the old wood shed was astonishing. This is possibly the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in weeks. Today, I painted the six posts that hold up the roof. Tomorrow, I’ll paint what I’m calling the eaves, for lack of a better term. And then there are other plans afoot for accents, if you will. More about those later.

After painting, we took our canoe out to Au Sable Lake which was calm and beautiful but thick with flies that gathered on our ankles while we were paddling. It was maddening and preoccupying and, although we tried, we could not rise above it so we paddled hard back to the boat launch.

And then, later in the afternoon, I swam in Lake Superior in front of our house. The water was warm for this early in the summer but still cool enough that I had to inch my way in. It is an extraordinary thing to swim in a lake as big and perfect as Lake Superior, to be in water so clear that you can see your own shadow on the sand bottom. I floated on my back and thanked God, which I rarely do, not being very religious, for getting me this far and then later when I sat on the shore I asked myself why all the drama, where is it that God has gotten you that has been so remarkable? And I didn’t have an answer.

I figure it was the lake and the sky that brought all that gratitude out of me.

2 Comments on “U.P. Thursday

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