Something that I will always associate with Michigan after I leave is the concept of "up north."
Most families I know either own property in northern Michigan or rent the same cabin or camp site every summer. When I was growing up, we rented the same cabin every year with some family friends, and also stayed at the same marinas in our boat. After my dad married my stepmom, we moved to the category of families with property, as her grandmother owns a cabin that all of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids use for vacations.
Six years of my young life were spent living with a river (and I mean a River, not a stream or something) going through my backyard (literally). I grew up around boats and have been swimming since before I could walk. Water- real water, not pools- has always been a source of comfort for me. I lost count of the number of times I walked to the river during my freshman year of college.
Last weekend I took my first trip "up north" of the summer. A few storms blew through, and though the temperature was generally comfortable it was too cold for swimming. Being me, I still spent hours sitting on the end of the dock with my feet in the water.
I had brought my books up to the cabin with me, but somehow neither of them seemed appropriate for the bright sun and clear water- The Historian is a fiction thriller about vampires, and King Leopold's Ghost details the all-too-real horrors of the travesties in the Congo. I ended up spending most of the weekend thinking.
The newspaper we had brought from home had an article about possible free agent acquisitions the Red Wings could make to fill our holes at forward. The article got me thinking about the changes the team has gone through over the years.
Konstantinov's accident. Scotty Bowman's retirement. The lock-out and the salary cap. Babcock joining the team. Yzerman's retirement. July 1, 2009.
Yes, next year's team will be considerably different than last year's. That's hockey. That's life.
But the core remains. We have our Captains and our Assistants. We have our owners. We have our coach. We have the greatest General Manager in sports. We have the undying faith and love of the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan pushing this team.
And I have absolutely no doubts that the 2009-2010 Detroit Red Wings will be Stanley Cup contenders once again.
Some thoughts from an outsider
9 months ago