I have revered communities that I am compelled to return to. Not like the swallows of Capistrano- theirs is an urgency of procreation- but places and their people that afford me a sense of community and of kinship and, if I am fortunate, also consist of a beauty, usually natural, that remains restorative long after the sojourn is over. Two such communities for me are Tucumcari, New Mexico, and the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. The first is high plains desert, the second the forested and feral terrains embraced by the curve that is Lake Superior.
One offers a "wrap around sky", as my friend Ruth Daniel has described the high plains, and the land of Lake Superior, everything from boreal forests to bald eagles and bear. Both afford me the sense of tribe, of being part of something that is both closer to the natural world and nourishing in matters of psyche and fellowship, in ways distinct from the place where I dwell and in ways that are unique to less populated communities.
I drive long hours to reach each locale just as I did this week to reach the shores of Lake Superior, where I am now, looking out on a bright blue lake and sky and taking pleasure in 68 degrees and my companions Janice and Fred and their haven of eagles, coyote, fox; and the most pristine air imaginable. Nature and kinship and respite from the habitual "oh, my".