Christmas Day, Lutsen

Christmas Day brings thoughts of family, friends, beliefs and what helps us to get through each day. We headed north into the cold and snow to spend the time within nature, at the beckon call of deer and raven, and fell asleep each day to the methodical splashing of water on the frozen shoreline.

Rising in the early morning before the sun, the grass is sharp and crunchy, the lake is calm, and the horizon has a very faint glow.

We walk down the wooden staircase to the rocky shoreline. Mostly flat with a slight slope to the water, it is mostly smooth stones, and sand. On this morning, with the temperature at 6 below, there is 2 feet of ice lining the shore for as far as we can see in both directions. The slushy water is heavy and slow, with pancake ice floating near. Our breath is thick and heavy, staying near our face with each exhale. Fingers are cold, even while holding a quickly cooling cup of coffee. We walk toward the river, kicking a few rocks and looking at various sized pieces of driftwood, trying to warm our fingers and toes.

Turning around and beginning to walk back, a faint shadow passes over the rocks. We stop and look up at the sky in time to see the black raven – large and majestic, the wingspan at least 4 feet across and the body the size of a small dog.

Once the sun has become visible
and fully stretched for a few hours
it is time to hit the trails
for a solo hike.

Well worn paths pass through
grasslands and into the forest
before narrowing as it hugs the
steep cliffs overlooking the Cascade River.

Scattered ice and snow patches,
frozen hoof prints and hiking boots.

The trail veers away
from the river and further
up the forest becomes dense,
the trail is overrun with
tree roots, river rock, and fallen limbs,
before opening into a field.

On the other side the last
climb to Lookout Mountain.

The solitude and quiet that is
winter while hiking trails that
have not been touched by humans
in days, brings the mind within
as it focuses and narrows, by
letting negative energy fall away
and we give ourselves to the creator.

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