Balance and Awareness

I live in the far north of Minnesota. I live where there’s more wildlife than people, and yet I still love to get away to an even more remote spot, to our cabin. Though our children are grown and live in Minneapolis and New York, my husband and I love living where life is quieter–and slower.

It’s what gives my life as an author balance. I spend many days on the road–flying in and out of International Falls or traveling around in our “Bookmobile” RV to schools, libraries, conferences and bookstores– and when I’m home, we try to spend as many long weekends as possible at our cabin on 60 acres. I help gather, cut and split our own firewood, which makes our cabin toasty on winter days than can plummet to 40 below, and colder with wind chill. That’s when we hibernate.

Snow doesn’t keep us from riding our horses, Sable and Midnight, as we explore old logging trails, often marked with wolf scat and tracks. Our dogs are all rescue dogs: Kito’s a chow chow cross; Mattie’s a schauzer cross; Sam’s a senior schnauzer, and Baxter is the English pointer (we’re caring for while a former editor serves in the Peace Corps for two years). The dogs love to run alongside the horses for miles as we spot a herd of deer in flight, white tails flagging as they vanish into the forest . . .  or steady our horses when a grouse explodes from its snowy nest. Of course, there’s nothing like the jingle of brass bells when we hitch up an old sleigh. Many nights, I’m a bonfire fanatic, creating a small blaze under the vast starry sky, and often basking in free shows of Northern Lights.

Our cabin is the place where we also leave technology behind. And that means more time to hike, to observe, to read, to nap, and to daydream. By slowing down and being aware of the natural world, I also become better at listening to the story that wants to be told.