I remember late night debates with friends about which were better – the mountains or the beach? At the heart of the debate was the romantic calling of the sea and the laid back life on the beach versus the adventure and majesty of the mountains. What both have in common is that they show the immense size and beauty of God’s creation while often creating existential crises because they make us feel so insignificant in their midst.
When pressed in those debates I always landed on mountains as my choice. But over the last 15 years my preference has slowly shifted. As our family traveled down to Myrtle Beach for spring break I posed the question to them – mountains or beaches? After a bit of discussion they asked my choice to which I answered – neither.
You see a couple of years ago I realized that my answer was now “C. None of the above”, though I still love and appreciate both (especially the beach after a long Michigan winter), my first choice has become, what I call, the great north woods, especially the forests and glades around the Great Lakes.
There is nothing I love more than a summer morning filled with the sweet smell of firs, pine and poplar combined with the coolness that the natural air conditioning of the Great Lakes provide, or watching the sunset over a spring fed lake or over the coast of Lake Michigan. I still love to watch white tail leap a fence or catch a trout in a lake or a stream.
There’s just so much that I love about great north woods, but in the end, I find the same majesty of the mountains and the same romantic calling of the sea but in an environment that’s personal, intimate and accessible. They have truly become my sanctuary.
What’s your favorite place?