Up North

There's this state of being in Minnesota called "Up North." Many families here have cabins on a lake or in the woods somewhere in the north half of the state. We don't. But we like it up north. We like the woods and the lakes. Generally we go camping. This time of year, we don't (I know some people do, but that would not be a pleasant weekend with children).

So our version of "Up North" is going to our church's Bible camp. We've actually been coming here since before we went to our church. I worked here the summer before we were married. And when I worked at a camp in Iowa full-time for almost five years, we came up to Covenant Pines Bible Camp every February for a few days.

Now it's our family's camp. It's not the camp I grew up at, nor did I spend much of my time in ministry working here. But for the last four years now, it's our family's camp. When we drive north, the boys note that we're getting closer when the woods get thicker. They recognize the turns that get us here. When we pull into the driveway, one of them often asks if they can drive the rest of the way (it somehow became a tradition when we get away at a camp that they sit on my lap and help steer the vehicle to where we park).

When we arrived at the guest house where we're staying the boys began saying to each other, "Remember when..."

We arrived around 8pm. It was dark. It was well past their bedtime when we got everything unloaded from the vehicle. But we decided to take a late night walk in the woods (well, not so much in the woods as over the hill and back across the lake).

When we got to the top of the hill we stopped and looked at the bright stars and the ribbon of the Milky Way. Nils even pointed out Jupiter.

There is no loon's cry this time of year, of course. In it's place is the scent of roasting tree sap as pine and cedar logs blaze in the fireplace of the lakeside chapel where a men's group was gathered. We trudged through the snow out on the lake, gazing at the stars again. The boys jumped over snow drifts. The door to the chapel opened as the men began singing.
Strength will rise as we wait upon The Lord,
Wait upon The Lord, as we wait upon The Lord.
Our God, You reign for ever.
Our hope, our strong deliverer.
You are the everlasting God....
There was something about standing on the frozen lake, surrounded by a carpet of white snow, gazing up at a bright starry sky, and hearing words of praise being sung.

We've heard a winter storm is coming this weekend. We may see upwards of six inches of snow up here. I think all of us are partly hoping we might just get snowed in an extra day. There's just something about being "up North." Even in February.

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