Friday’s Weekend Column
Last Weekend

by James Glaser
September 30, 2005

This will be my last weekend up in the north woods for quite some time as I will be heading down to Tallahassee next week. I am filled with mixed emotions. The fall colors are just now exploding, and there is a crisp feeling in the air when I step outside in the morning, but it is warm and nice in the afternoon. At night the sky is filled with stars and I can see the Milky Way. I know I won't see that down South in a big town.

Then I think about my adventure of living in a Southern City. Something I never dreamed I would do, but maybe something I should do. I need a change or at least a different direction. The last couple of years I have slowed down, and I think the solitude of life up here made me complacent.

The three weeks I spent in Tallahassee this month were filled with energy, and my mind was working over time, with ideas for making things. I know Tallahassee isn't a huge metropolis, but it is, when you compare it to Northome. It is still big enough to get lost in, and I have, but it is small enough that if you keep driving around, you soon see something you recognize.

I have been talking to people around here about my leaving, and I get some surprising thoughts. Some people can't understand how I could ever think of leaving. Some wish they could, but they can't for many reasons. Some people are afraid of life in a city and others are afraid of crime. Others want to get out of here and the young ones will, but some have waited too long, and they can't break away. They all wish me well and hope I find what I am looking for.

I am not selling my home, but I will if I find a spot that gives me what this place has. I know I need to garden, and I need to see wildlife, and I need good neighbors, and I need a feeling of community. I don't believe this is the only place in America that has all of those, but until I find that other spot, I will still have this one.

I know if Charmaine hadn't died, I would have been very happy to stay here until I died, but she is what made life here so special. We had a plan for life here and it was good, but a half of a plan is really no plan at all, so I need a change in direction.

Yes, I guess I could have looked for a woman to take Charmaine's place, but that wouldn't have been fair to her, and it wouldn't have worked out in the end. I need a woman who I can create a plan and life with, that is special in its own way. Something the both of us design together, and I believe I will find that woman in the South.

This week I have been picking tomatoes and squash, cucumbers and peppers, and my flowers are still filled with color. Soon there will be a killing frost, but the tomatoes will be fine in the greenhouse for another five or six weeks.

The squirrels are running around grabbing anything they can stash and the young loons are heading out. The humming birds are gone, and I have seen the v-shaped formations of geese flying over head.

I have been packing clothes for down south and have to laugh about how much bigger my winter wardrobe is than my summer one. I won't need flannel lined jeans down south and my Carhart overalls will have to stay here along with my packs. I did pack some gloves, but the choppers stay here too. At least it freezes in Tallahassee.

If I can figure out how to do it, I plan to bring my prepared wild grape and choke cherry juice with me, and then I can make jelly down south.

I will miss my neighbors, all of whom have been so nice to me and so helpful, when I needed them. Next week, Friday's Column will be about life in the South.

BACK to the Essays.