I'm in a small coffee shop called The Wake-Up Call in a little town in northern Wisconsin. An Americano steams in my cup, and two teenage girls chatter passionately about two different boys and then more slowly and cautiously about someone who had a miscarriage. It's grey and windy out, a smattering of rain dotting the window occasionally.
I'm taking some time to be alone in a cabin up north for a few days---to get away by myself for a while. So far it's been peaceful and filling, like the feeling you get after you wake up from a ten-hour sleep. When I pulled in on Friday, and after I got my things settled inside the small one-room structure, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. It had been a while since I had had this much alone time. I spread out my sleeping bag up in the loft, explored the cupboards, and tested light switches. I noticed a water jug but wasn't quite sure where to fill it up. After some more rearranging, I decided I'd take a hike and come back to the rest later. There was a map that was courteously placed on the small kitchen table, so I picked it up, studied it a bit, and put it in my backpack.
The trail led into the woods and past a wide open field spotted with small flowers. As it wound farther into the forest, the air grew thick with mosquitoes, and if I stopped to take a picture or look out over the scenery, the insects loomed. At one point, I heard a horrendous crash in the trees to my right, and I jumped, startled, my heart hammering. I remembered the camp owner mentioning bear sightings at the camp over the last couple of years when we had talked earlier on the phone. Whipping my head around, I caught the last-minute glimpse of a deer's tail, flicking up and off into the distance, brush crashing beneath the animal. After that, I decided to head back to my little cabin, my heart still a bit surprised and thumping.
A long sleep, lots of reading, and a good amount of walks have filled the last several hours. I feel rested and warm and thankful for time to just be and observe and look out the window. Also, it's fascinating to me, but when you ask the Lord to speak, and listen---really listen---He does speak. This surprises and astounds me every time it happens (although it shouldn't). He is such a pure embodiment of faithfulness and truth.
As far as bike-hike-running goes, I will tell you some of the highlights. Biking the Midtown Greenway, a 5.7 mile rail trail in Minneapolis, is quickly becoming a new favorite. Actually biking in general is becoming a new favorite (who would've thought!). Not only does the Greenway make it easy to get from St. Paul to Minneapolis, but it's fun to share the trail with all the other bikers and see all the life happening in the city. Biking feels more participatory than driving for some reason, and while I still have a lot to learn when it comes to street riding, it feels like something I could truly grow to love. Next steps: purchase a road bike? Possibly. Purchase bike shorts? Kidding! Another highlight was hiking Minnehaha Falls after seafood tacos at Sea Salt Eatery with some friends. We watched the sun set over the Mississippi River from a large cement wall while some youths spray-painted the cement steps to our right. Always a good time.
Well, I hear there's a dairy co-op down the street that makes and sells stellar cheese and ice cream. The owner of the cabin I'm staying at mentioned they process literally millions of pounds of cheese a day. Is that possible?