Friday, June 26, 2009

I can feel the wedding coming closer, but I am mainly interested in the honeymoon, particularly the drive and tour through the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Becky and I have been singing improvised, faithful, and comical variations of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I am too young to have any degree of connection to the historical event itself, but it is a catchy song and plenty good as well.

I want to get the biggest bang possible out of the trip, hopefully by absorbing tidbits of information that will add some new angle to the scenery. When I travel around Alaska I am constantly struck by the notion that this is the Last Frontier. It truly is. While people have certainly walked and lived in the vastness of Alaska for thousands of years, it is very easy to view it all as a world with dew still on it. It’s a safe bet to make. If what you are looking at does not have a structure or road on it, it probably never has had one. The trees are not second growth. It’s mint condition so to speak. In Wisconsin, particularly in the south half of the state, I was constantly trying to imagine what it all looked like before the dairy farms sliced it all into postage stamps. This is not some moral judgment -- far from it. It’s just apples and oranges, and I love both. I suspect this cavern will narrow as I read more of Alaskan history, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to place Alaska in a unique earthly prism of largely untouched country.

As I think of the beautiful drive ahead of us through the UP, Michigan, and the Lake Michigan side of Wisconsin, I want to know what happened in those places before we drove through. Where did Hemingway fish and camp? What about all of those Lake Superior shipwrecks? What did they mine there?

I’ve never read The Song of Hiawatha and I plan on doing that before the trip (or at least denting it).

I should yet again reread Hemingway’s Nick Adams Stories, though Becky has never read them. Maybe I can read them aloud to pass the time on our long drives? They seem perfectly suited to that. I cannot wait to tool around Walloon Lake and squint to envision the water and trees as they were a hundred years ago.

C’mon honeymoon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I caught a bit of an Alaskan tan (read: sunburn) last Sunday on the Kenai River while fishing for king salmon. It was so warm you could have fished in a t shirt, which is a rare treat when fishing on a glacier fed river in Alaska. That was very pleasant, but catching zero salmon was not. We did see almost uncountable numbers of mature and immature bald eagles. Summer is here.

I’ve been told by other married men that the gleaming hope in the stress of the wedding process is planning and focusing on the upcoming honeymoon (the “golden parachute” is the exact term I heard). You must thread the eye of the needle and steer towards that trip. In our case the reservations on Mackinac are confirmed, the shipwreck tours on Lake Superior are paid for, and my dad’s Silverado is all but gassed up for our leisurely drive through the northwoods of Wisconsin and Michigan.

I’ve made no secret of my fascination and interest in the northwoods of Wisconsin and Minnesota, though I do not completely understand it. Maybe it was simply the largest, reachable wilderness I knew of from my bungalow on the south side? Perhaps that led to a deeper resonance in Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories as well as the Hemingway biographies I devoured? I suspect all of that, coupled with a desire to scoot away from Chicago, led me to Alaska, though I still have an unending soft spot for ‘up north’. Pondering this golden parachute always has me digging out my Bob Dylan “Nashville Skyline” LP and endless playing ‘Girl from North Country.’ I understand it is probably about England, but I like to think of it being about Minnesota or Wisconsin, considering Bob grew up in Duluth. Regardless, Johnny Cash sings on the track and it’s terrific.

Friday, June 05, 2009

We are now just under 2 months from the big day and things are getting busier and busier, but things are also undeniably getting crossed off the list and progress is evident everywhere. The feeling of motion is unavoidable.

I had my suit taken in and it now fits perfectly. I already have a spiffy red tie so now I only need to have the suit pressed and cleaned.

The second bedroom now has a brand new queen bed for guests and the furniture is organized fairly well. Nothing special, but it’s clean and orderly. My folks will be all set on their visit in 2 weeks.

In general, the entire townhouse looks terrific. I put in bookshelves along the triangular wall on the third floor and they really make excellent use of the space. Also, it eliminates the need for a large and heavy bookcase that we really have no room for as it is. And the shelves are modular. Perfect. I should probably retake all of the pictures of the townhouse and put those on flickr.

All of the invites went in the mail yesterday. That is a fair amount of work now marked as done.

The days are long and our spring has been very pleasant. It has already been warmer than the entire last summer. I’ve been getting in a lot of biking via commuting and taking advantage of the 11:30pm sunsets. Far North Bicentennial Park is about a mile away and has a long, paved road through the forest and up the mountain that is a hefty climb. I can usually stay in the saddle the first few climbs, but after that I need to stand and muscle the bike up with my torso. I see moose almost everyday on that road, and very few cars.

It’s time to put my head down again and start sprinting towards the wedding.