Unplugging, Part 1

It’s only fitting that I am writing this part of the story from my childhood home in suburban Chicago.  I have not been back for five years, and it’s more urbanized than ever, of course.  I remember the last of the cornfields in the area disappering when I was a small child, and waching the cows in the field out the window of our pediatrician’s office (those are also long gone).  I used to ask my mom if we could move to “the country” where we could have horses.  When we visited family in Arizona, I spent hours petting and talking to their horses.  While our little suburban haven had many advantages, I never felt like it was where I belonged.  Yet as I visit with dear old friends here, they still look at my quizzically and ask “Why the UP?”  I don’t think I explain things well in person at all, and I don’t think I’m able to provide very good answers other than we were looking for a lot of affordable land.  I’m tempted to just start answering that question with “Clearly, my husband and I are mentally unbalanced.”

So how did we end up there?  Going back to my yearning for rural life, as a young teen I learned to ride horses at YMCA summer camp.  When I became too old for that, through a series of providential circumstances, I ended up volutneering at the barn at Silver Birch Ranch, a Christian camp in Wisconsin.  There, I fell in love, first with the northwoods, and secondly–more importantly–with Jesus.  Camp became a spiritual home of sorts, and as I learned about Jesus, I became more enamoured with a simpler lifestyle in the woods.  Halfway through my college education, I decided to transfer universities and take a year off in between to attend camp’s one-year Bible program, Nicolet Bible Institute.  I am still deeply grateful for the grounding Bible education I recieved there, learning lessons far more important than anything I learned at “regular” college. My first northwoods winter was a new adventure, complete with cross country skiing, snowshoeing, seeing northern lights for the first time, leading trail rides bareback through snow-covered forest, and taking a couple trips up to visit a friend’s family in the UP.  I remember riding along the highway in the passenger seat of my friend’s car, gazing up at the snow banked high on the side of the road, creating a tunnel of snow.  My friend informed me that sometimes they had to push the tops of the embankments over off into the woods so the snow wouldn’t fall back into the street.  I had never seen so much snow in my life, and I loved it.  I do remember thinking, “I could just stay here forever”  though it would be many years before that thought would come to fruition.

Until next time…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alisapage484
    May 04, 2015 @ 16:31:08

    I’m loving your story! Can’t wait for the next part, Erin.



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