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The Summer Break

Big Lake Chetac, Wisconsin
So, it all started when I headed off to Northern Wisconsin for a fishing trip. Mind you, I don't fish. I have nothing against it. I have farm-girl roots and am proud of it. Fish are just...well, icky, lol. So what, you may ask, was I doing on a fishing trip? I might not fish, but I am certainly not opposed to spending several days on a boat in the middle of a pretty lake!

My family and I trekked up to where my cousin lives, nearly eight hours by car. Then it's another hour out to the cabin. The nearest bit of modernity consists of a run-down convenience store. But hey, you can buy bait and beer there, what else do you need?

Believe it or not, there are still places where you can't get a cell signal. This was one of them. I live in the middle of a fairly urban area. Did I think of this beforehand? I did not. The cabin we rented was supposed to have internet, I have a smartphone, sure I can get work done.

Well, you could get a nice, weak internet signal if you sat in one particular corner of the dining room. I had to fight my mom, my dad, my brother, and two of my brother's friends for that precious few feet. As for cell service - walk out the front door, go around the east corner of the building, take two paces. Turn to the lake. Stick your arm out to the side at a ninety-degree angle. If the wind is coming from the south, you're good to go. All right, so it maybe wasn't quite that complicated, but it did feel a bit like a treasure hunt. On the plus side, there were vast amounts of entertainment to be found. I had a great time watching people roam the cabin with their phones held high, searching for the ever-elusive single bar.

I survived without the tech. I had to make one semi-emergency trip to my cousin's place and there were an insane amount of emails in my inbox when I returned home, but it was actually kind of nice, after I adjusted. The trip itself was marvelous. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery. While I never did stick a pole in the water, I spent most of every day on the lake with the fishermen (and women). I usually took a book, but I didn't do much reading. The boat was small and we'd hug the shore, oftentimes simply drifting with the current. A perfect summer sun would light up the thick woods around the lake, the wind bringing the calls of the loons as they called to each other, warning of the approaching eagles. I've never seen so many eagles in one place, mostly hatchlings, going from one tree to another, floating upwards on the air currents and circling high overhead. I didn't do much work at all on the trip, not even writing.

Those five days seemed over far too quickly. Now it's miserably hot and I'm back in 'civilization' with my phone and laptop nearly always in reach. I've had to adjust again. I don't think I could handle being that isolated on any kind of permanent basis. I'm quite happy where I am. But that trip, a yearly event for my family, is absolutely necessary for my sanity. So now it's back to work, rejuvenated and re-energized. It's the absolute best way I've ever found to break writer's block.

So, is anyone else going - or have been - on a summer trip? Do you have a tradition, or a way that works for you, to break the routine and take a little 'me' time? I love my work, I love writing, and I couldn't live without that outlet. But sometimes, I have to put it aside and take a break to remember why I love it.


K.M. Mahoney 
Come Wander With Me  

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