On Friday, a group of us drove four hours North to Waupaca, Wisconsin in order to celebrate my roommate and best friend, A. Many of us are already familiar with the quietness and slowness that my friends place brings, but some were new to the property. Upon arrival, we jumped out of the car and were greeted with shining stars that seemed restless in the sky. We eventually made our way out onto the rooftop to be closer, and witnessed innumerable comets pass over us and through the Milky Way. We all spoke of dreams to travel and made pinky promises to do such.
When we awoke the next day, some of us made our way to rocking chairs and others took a spot on the floor of the porch. We listened as our friend S explained the callings of different birds, and continued to learn more and more about each other. The day led to grocery shopping at Piggly Wiggly and Fleet Farm, and, finally, to exploration of the surrounding woods. Again, I felt that same stillness beneath the strength of the tall, glorious trees. The group of us roamed and roamed, I think hoping to get lost in some silly way; just so we had an excuse to explore better, deeper, quieter. We stumbled upon toppled trees, with the ground still attached at the roots. We walked among the brush, always aware of what was in front of us or around us. Some held little creatures or gave names to the mysterious (it helps to have a Biologist present).
As we walked back to settle down at the house, I challenged someone to a race. Poor T. I assumed he fell because he wanted to let me win, but it turns out he really did hurt himself. One bag of ice and Saran Wrap later, we all sat down and watched a slow movie that left us feeling a little more down than up. So, from there, we prepped for dinner over a bonfire. It was perfect. We sat around with hot dogs and brats cooking over flames. We drank, we laughed, we smoked, we celebrated A, and we continued to grow with one another in such a joyful way. After our dinner, others arrived from another friends’ house nearby. Two fire pits later, everyone was sitting or standing beneath a cloudy sky.
Hours later, some went out to discover the life of a small town bar, but T and I stayed back to rock in the rocking chairs, talking about the Church and sharing stories that God has so intricately woven. I also took it upon myself to roll down a small hill, kind of scaring myself as my little body gained momentum. We finally retired, not realizing we unintentionally locked our friends out of the house. Thankfully, T is a light sleeper and rescued our friends from the cold rain. (Sorry, guys.)
Sunday morning had to be my favorite. We were greeted with a rain that was quiet yet hard. Each of us took our places on the porch, with Bibles, books and journals, all bundled in blankets to prevent the cold, rainy morning from pushing us indoors. We drank too much coffee, ate the best egg casserole and exchanged stories of our nights. But at times, we would all grow quiet and nose dive back into our own worlds.
And this was the end of our celebratory getaway to Waupaca, Wisconsin. This little home in the middle of the woods never fails to bring a solitude that I so badly need. We all jumped back into our cars and headed back South to our homes in busy Chicago. The car I drove stopped at random doughnut shops connected to gas stations, and did a little bit of sing-talking about any and everything (my personal favorites being about Wild Rose, Wisconsin). But, before we could close out the weekend, one last game of “What Are the Chances?” had to be played … and this time, I lost.
Four doughnuts later, I am physically full. Four hours later, I am also spiritually full.
Also, I am definitely deeply grateful.
*All photos taken on iPhone 4S, edited in VSCOcam