North Shore Life: What’s it Really Like?| September

Since moving to Minnesota’s North Shore I’ve had people ask what it’s really like to live here year-round. In this month-by-month journal, I take you through the full year to give you a glimpse of What it’s Really Like.

There’s a time to hang on. And finally, there’s a time for change.

Just as we get used to the slow hum of summer, September comes along to shake things up. At least in northeast Minnesota, it’s the wild card of the year (okay, one of the wild cards of the year…looking at you, April).

Last September was a month of the most glorious sunshine and crisp days. This September it has been 90 degrees and oppressively humid, windy and frigid, and nearly everywhere in between. But through the insane temperature fluctuations, we’ve had the one constant of rain: lots of rain.

Caribou Lake, Lutsen
Fall at White Sky Rock

2018 does not seem to be one for moderation. We got almost no precipitation for the month of August. Our pond dried up, and trees began to brown. Then almost as soon as Labor Day passed the clouds rolled in, and it has rained for pretty much the entirety of September (and there’s still no end in sight). Our pond has filled back up again, and the ground squishes underneath my moccasins as I walk through a yard that now seems reminiscent of a bog.

If I sound like I’m complaining, please don’t misunderstand. I love rainy days and the sense of creativity they bring. Especially now as I’ve been working more on my writing, the dreamy mist and cooling showers have provided an excellent backdrop for my imaginations and creative pursuits. I have missed the sun some days, and I feel bad for the visitors who have come up on the tails of rumors that September on the North Shore is pure sunshine and fall colors. When it comes to weather near the Big Lake, you just never know. Personally, I prefer to embrace her moods and let her whims inspire my creativity.

Of course, September does bring a bittersweet farewell to some of our wild friends. The hummingbirds have moved on, as have most of the loons. Our rose bushes are holding onto some last stubborn blooms but are basically done for the year. Though we’ll miss the company of some of our favorite plants and animals, it is their time, and we trust that we’ll see them again.

Loon Lake, Gunflint Trail
Shorter days and no more loons on Loon Lake

As the forest begins to change, so does life indoors. Having spent almost my whole life as part of the education system, both as a student and now as my job, September has become synonymous with school starting. New beginnings, by definition, bring an air of opportunity and hope, and for us personally, autumn tends to be a natural time for looking ahead, strategic planning, and goal setting.

I’ve never wanted to be someone who goes through life on auto-pilot, just letting things happen by chance and default. There is so much to see and do in the world; how can one ever stop learning and dreaming and creating? I’ve been proud to see some of my loved ones make big and happy changes this September, and I’ve been thinking more about my own life direction and dreams.

Home <3

Whatever it is that I or we or you decide to make of your life, whatever changes you feel must be made, I hope that you decide to do some good in the world. Far away from our cozy corner of the northwoods, life is unsettling, disappointing, and at times angering. I’m sure we’ve all felt that one way or another when catching up on the news and commentaries this month. But as one of my friends recently wrote, maybe it’s time for us difference-makers to migrate away from destruction and move toward growth.

A book I was reading recently said that studies have shown that heroic characters in novels actually increase readers’ desire to be a morally better person. The good we create can change the world for the better, in very real ways.

Exploring the old sugar shack

So as the world moves forward, so shall we. We’ll move forward to growth, and creating beautiful things. We’ll craft a world where we don’t just tear down the bad, and leave a vacuum for more corruption to grow, but actively begin creating good.

In other news, town is still as busy as ever, and our micro-B&B hasn’t slowed down a bit. My ‘summer’ job is still rolling, so until all of that winds down, Northernwords will continue to be quieter than usual. But that will all change too, as everything does.

Have a loveliest October 🙂


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