We've been here for nearly a year now. Long enough to live through all four seasons.
A year ago today we were driving further North than we'd ever been. Before we even got in the car I knew we wouldn't be returning as the same people. I knew I might as well start thinking about the packing up of all of our lives again. Transplanting, and such.
Spring in the Upper Peninsula is an experience. I've been bewildered by the birds. We're so far north that even the ravens leave us for the winter. By last weekend they were back to squawking and building their nests from tree bits they dug out of the mounds snow in our front yard. Weeks ago the tiny birds were back, doing their spring dances. I'd stand wrapped in my favorite triple thick flannel blanket and gape through the window at their audacity. Hearty doesn't begin to cover these birds. They didn't seem to notice the snow. It was still taller than my tiny daughter when the birds declared it to be spring.
I've never understood the importance of the position of the sun until now. The teens in March feel different than the teens in January here. The 'depths of winter' in the Upper Peninsula means you cannot feel the sun's warmth no matter how bright the light is.
Even so, I stand by my consistent statements that the weather has been the least of the adjustments moving to the Upper Peninsula. When you go through months of seeing but not feeling the sun it makes you see the world differently. I am sure of this now.
And like all lack, you either learn to create within you what is lacking on the outside or you compensate with things like spite, alcohol, resignation, or loathing. We are surrounded by both kinds of people now; to a degree of polarity that matches the extremes of the weather here.
I've had some truly faithful friends seeing me through this winter, saying things like, give yourself some grace, over and over and over again as I stretch the muscles that create inner warmth, belonging, home, beauty, and unwavering faith. Friends who have listened through the months of figuring out who I am and who our family is here. I'm so grateful for the people who can bear the sight of me at my most unraveled. I am floored by their eternal and unwavering faith in me. In my head I call them my seeing people. There are four of them. I am the best kind of wealthy.
While I unpack everything I thought I knew about Spring (the last of the unpacking to do here as our transition year is winding quickly to a close), I'm taking notes from the birds and the trees. They are budding though their trunks and roots are still tucked tight under thick blankets of snow. If our proximity to the sun matters more than the temperature of the air to the birds and the trees, then what does that mean for us? That life just goes on no matter what? That immediate conditions matter less than the grand scale conditions?
I'm really not sure.
All I know today is that completing the circle is a good thing, and I have not become a worse person in the past year. This feels like a minor victory.