Jeep and I spent the last days in Door County in harmony and bliss. Though we tried to wake early to take full advantage of the days, Morpheus called louder than the call to adventure and we rarely got up before 9am.
Finally roused Jeep strapped one of his kayaks to a dolly and I towed the boat to the water while he carried the other boat overhead. I launched the kayak and glided around the dock out to the open water, careful to avoid the occasional jet skier, sailboat or power boat. Feeling peaceful and content as the warm mid-morning sun shone, I admired vegetation growing through the limestone cliffs that make up the Niagara Escarpment and the woods that cover the plateau while we hugged a couple miles of coastline.
After putting away the boats, I hopped on my bike to collect goodies to send to the boys for their annual care package for camp. Taking a car for such errands wasn’t even a question. The post mistress helped me find the cheapest, fastest package, and though it took a bit of time, neither she, nor the people behind me showed the slightest tinge of impatience. In Wisconsin, kindness rates higher than haste. I rode to Base Camp Coffee Shop, my favorite coffee shop in Sister Bay, and with my caramel flavored coffee sat down to read from Door County Living, National Geographic, and a local book of poems.
I read an interesting article about what it means to be a local in this place that is home to transplants from Chicago to Lithuania and those whose family has lived in the same home for several generations – passing down businesses and family ties. The consensus seemed to be about 30 years before you are accepted (and trusted) as a local. Nevermind the tenacity to sustain oneself economically as well as mentally through cold and lonely winters as the county goes dormant.
As I sat contemplating small town living, the coffee owner shop (who is from France) asked about my bike parked outside, so I let him take it for a spin. Later I met Jeep picking more cherries for the orchard owner who had just got a big order from Piggly Wiggly – the local grocery store. At sunset, we rode bikes to La Puerta Mexican Restaurant where we chatted up our waitress who grew up in Door County and wants to teach at the elementary school she attended because, she added with a laugh, she can’t imagine working for any of her rivals. We then went home to pit more cherries (recipes to follow) and had over friends for a glass of wine.
This simple, slow living has stayed in my heart, despite my return to Orange County, and the beginning of my first full time job in 16 years. Though transitions from vacation to homelife are rarely easy, I hope to make this uncomplicated pace last. I find I am driving slower and am not multi-tasking – the root of many of my stresses.
But for good measure, I’ve booked two massages for next week and am already planning my next trip to Door County.