Monday, May 23, 2011

Up to UP

by Zinta Aistars

I wake to the soft shush of Lake Superior waves just south of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is one of my favorite places of all places, northern wilderness and small towns where I lived and worked years ago, too long ago. I come back at least once a year, more if possible, to reconnect, and now I return to continue my search for a little piece of the Keweenaw for myself.

The last few weeks back home in southwest Michigan had been a swirl of looking at properties. I've been on a hunt for a house closer to work. Now, my daily commute is 110 miles a day; the hope is to reduce that as much as possible while still finding a property with a bit of acreage around it. I found the perfect place, a log house on four acres, and was in the midst of putting together an offer when another buyer swooped in and paid cash for the entire price. Hoo yeah, obviously not the house meant for me, but someone else's dream come true.

Then there was House #2. Also very nice, and much lower in price, much more modest, but still offering the seclusion necessary to me, with an acre of pine woods around it, and a commute of 18 miles to work. Very nice. I put in my offer. The clock ticked, the offer expired. A day later the owner responded with a counter offer, lowering the listing price by an astounding one thousand. He refused to fix the few small repairs I'd requested in my offer. Not only my agent was disappointed, so was his listing agent. I rolled my eyes, refused to play, and walked away. Not the house meant for me, either.

I'm not sure I can define it, what that is that I believe happens when we choose the right path, but it seems to me that when we choose the right one, the path clears and puzzle pieces fall into place. Not that reaching our goals can be done without struggle or testing our muscle, our determination. But when the opposite happens, when one obstacle after another falls across our path, then I suspect we should back up for a moment and think about it. Did I choose wrong? Is this my path? Or have I made a wrong turn somewhere?

Coming to the Keweenaw always restores me. Priorities realign, perspective finds its proper place, stress eases, and my heart beats steady again. I have had two real estate agents working for me--one in southwest Michigan, one in the Keweenaw area up north. One is working to find me a home now, while I continue my work; the other is working to find me that place that will serve as a getaway now, perhaps a place to spend my retirement years later.

I am trying to bake my cake and eat it too, and still be left licking frosting from my finger tips.

My rented cottage on Lake Superior, in the Keweenaw Bay, soothes away the stress and wackiness of all that house hunting, negotiating, throwing up my hands at ridiculous counter offers, and working hard to meet work deadlines in the meantime, preparing for a week away. Yes, and The Smoking Poet's summer issue deadline is fast approaching, too. My head swirls with obligations and decisions, but as soon as I enter the little blue cottage on the water, it all peels away from my shoulders and I feel lighter.

My head clears. I can think straight again. Give me the week, and I will remember how to spell my name again. Tomorrow I meet my UP (Upper Peninsula) real estate agent, and the hunt begins again, and I can't wait. What place will call to me? Any of them? A few cabins, a few vacant plots of wooded acreage, possibilities. I will also return to several properties I viewed last time I was here, because they haunt me still.

For now, my path is open again and the way ahead is clear. It won't take long, I know, to find a fork in that road, and decisions will demand their due, but on this morning, I take my blue cup of morning brew and go out to stand on the edge of the land, where the rocky beach begins, and listen to the call of the Superior, whispering the call of Home.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Gosh, it's a wonderful place! You're lucky to be able to live there!
    - andrea