“You know everything is closed, right?” Was the chorus we heard over and over again. A week and a half ago my friend from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary sent me a text. She said, knowing that moving back to Kansas was her destination after graduation, that she wanted to find the time to visit Mackinac Island and Lake Superior while she was still in Chicago.
We decided it would be an adventure, but worth a try. We did some research, made some calls, and packed our bags.
Mackinac island is known for being a place where no cars are allowed. People come to the island to ride bikes, admire sail boats, buy sweet fudge, indulge at the Grand Hotel, and explore the trails. The island is alive all summer, but come winter the island goes practically dormant.
Only five things were open on Mackinac Island in March: A B&B, a small hotel, a bar, a restaurant, and a market.
Our ferry ride had about 15 people. Five locals returning home after warm vacations and ten brave tourists. When Chelsea and I realized that we were the only guests at the B&B it was easy to realize that those 10 other people must all be at the hotel (later we would all converge at the restaurant for dinner).
Chelsea and I stuck some foot warmers in the tows of our Merrills and set off for a day of hiking the trails. We navigated ice patches, trudged through deep snow, and admired beautiful views of Lake Huron. We never encountered one other person on our journey. We rested our minds, worked our muscles, and admired God’s beautiful creation.
What would life look like if we took more time to live in the off-season? To slow down, to explore, and to admire the world around us?
In times gone by it was common for a whole town to close down on Sunday. Every week had one day of “off-season”. You made do with what you had and enjoyed the people and sites around you. Today it is much harder to force ourselves into days of rest.
Sometimes we have to do something a little crazy like going to Mackinac in March.