Monday, October 13, 2014

The honey wind - remembrance of Grand Marais, Minnesota

"Somehow my world and I have grown just a little bit older."
"The honey wind blows and the days grow colder. Somehow my world and I have grown just a little bit older. I sit alone and the fire glows. The fire glows- and the honey wind blows. I sit alone - and the good Lord knows - I miss you so when the honey wind blows."
-Lyrics by Glenn Yarbrough

The full moon surprised me.  It always does when I visit Lake Superior's North Shore in autumn. 

I never think of the moon when I'm in the city.  But here,  on the rocks in Grand Marais, it cannot be ignored.

I spread a blanket and sit.  

I brought my husband to these shores.
When I was young and married, my husband and I spent every summer here.  

We made mistakes in those days   - I'm certain. But on these rocks with October wind in my face, I can't remember a single one.

One of the joys of aging is this; bitterness, emptiness and anger fade with the advance of every winter. 

Growing old, not bitter

He grew tired of me, it's true.  Living in a family did not suit him.

I know for certain, however, that he never grew tired of the lessons he learned from the lake.

He was born in Texas, a land far different from this place.  He followed me here - and it was in this north country, where black soil converges with glacial rocks and forest that he learned to love the wilderness.

Along the Gunflint, where birches meet evergreen and death blends with seamless eternity, he learned to love the seasons as I love them.

I hope he learned to forgive.

I know I did. 

Those days, however,  are gone.

Summer is gone as well. 

The worn blanket I sit  upon cannot protect me from the chill that grows around me.  I feel foolish and a little silly - and I hope no one from town sees me.

I should have brought my heavy Hudson Bay wool.  I should have worn my down jacket.  I should have buttoned my flannel shirt and slipped into my long underwear before making this trek. 

The full moon is stark and near.  The night air presses through my coat and I chuckle as I realize that, once again, I underestimated the cold of the harbor, the force of the powerful wind that blows against this part of the world.

The honey wind blows

When folk singers were popular, we called it the "honey wind." This time of year it surprises the lake with the creation of deep, sea-worthy white caps.

I hear the water crash below me and my memory awakens. 

Once upon a time, before easy roads invited the new, beautiful, young tourists to this little town, Grand Marais was our far-away adventure; a secret the two of us shared with only those we trusted and loved. 

And this, I think, will be my last visit.

So it shall always be

Behind me, in the dark,  my camp fire dies.

I pick up the thin, useless blanket and return to my tent.  

The moon burns cold into the water.  I extinguish the Coleman and accept what the moon provides.

It is foolish to ask for more.

Somewhere in the night, I hear the rustle of a large, careless animal - but a single woman cannot live in fear and I am not afraid of the dark. 

I pull the sleeping bag tight around my neck and give thanks for moonlight, for rising stars, for the coming winter - and all the things I will accomplish before the new year.

So it is, so it has been and so it will always be.

Autumn follows summer follows spring.

And I sleep alone.  


  1. How beautiful. I felt the deep sadness and the wonderment. I often sit alone even though I am surrounded by 3 grandchildren. My husband died on the 22 October 2003. We were together for almost 50 years. But now I spend my time working on training manuals and connecting with people like you. Thank you for the honey wind. Clara

    1. Thank you, Clara. I hope you return often to these pages. - Kristine


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