Retreat, ice cream cone & one heck of a storm

Calm ambiance of Isle Royale

Calm ambiance of Isle Royale

Barry returned from his annual fishing trip to Isle Royale a couple of hours ago.

I’ve spent five days alone here in the North Woods.  You know, in retreat mode. Meditating, weeding the garden, sitting, washing dishes, communing with nature, witnessing thoughts, just Being.

Except for working my two part-time jobs.  Except for a haircut and dentist appointment in town.  Except for volunteering at our annual Aura Jamboree selling tickets and later talking with good friends.  Except for that almost-tornado (high winds of 65-70 mph) on Thursday evening.

From my perspective, it all started with an impulsive desire for an ice cream cone.  You know, how you’re sitting at home in retreat-mode when suddenly you think you’ll die if you don’t eat an ice cream, now.

Not tomorrow.  Not Friday.  NOW.

We all recognize this, don't we?

We all recognize this, don’t we?

You bargain with yourself.  “Don’t be silly, you don’t really want an ice cream cone.  Here’s a delightful peach instead.”  Your desire’s having none of this silly talk.  It thinks that without an ice cream it will keel over and die.

Because you’ve ignored sixteen other desires during your sojourn alone, you decide to drive to town for that ice cream.  Forget contributing to global warming.

OK, now you’ve narrowed your desire to a Snicker’s cone, the kind drizzled with caramel and topped with chocolate and nuts.  The kind where the last bite consists of chocolate hidden at the bottom of the cone.  The kind where you lick your lips and think you’ve gone to heaven, well, for at least ten minutes afterward until your mind thinks it wants something else.

Unfortunately, it’s starting to look wild & crazy outside.  The National Weather Service has issued warnings. The 90 degree temps are meeting a weather system and a storm approaches.  I bargain with the Universe:  Get me to town safely in time for that ice cream and you’ll be rewarded with…well, something.



The Universe raises its eyebrows and continues to spit rain on the windshield as you leave your retreat and drive toward that insistent desire twelve miles away.

You decide you’re probably going to die chasing the eternal ice cream cone, shame on you, but you keep driving and the wind keeps rising and then…hey, wait a minute, now it’s sunny.  Oh, good.  Phew.  Catastrophe averted.

You wonder briefly how your husband is faring as the storm hits Isle Royale, but then you remember the Snickers cone and hail onward.  The sun disappears; the rain pounds.  The sun comes out.  OK, you’re almost to town. Should you stop at the nearby shop or drive to the gas station where you know they have Snickers cones?

You drive up Broad Street.  You run into the Holiday Gas Station. You sprint through the store.  You open the cooler…and…darn you, Universe!…there are NO Snickers ice cream cones.  Figures.  OK, you grab one of those imitation nut-sprinkled cones and toss a couple of dollars on the counter and gun up your engine, attempting to make it home before the REAL storm hits.

A photo of another ice cream urge that struck...

A photo of another ice cream urge that struck…

You tear off the paper around the cone and discover…OK, Universe, what a joke!….your ice cream cone has broken in two.  You drive quickly toward home, quickly digesting the object of your desire, mmmm, good, OK, please don’t drip all over the car…

Your son calls when you get home.  You do not tell him what his mama has been doing.  Some things are better kept secret, for the time being, don’t you agree?  (OK, maybe I told him.  No recall of actual details.)

Suddenly the electricity goes out.  No more phone call with son.  It remains out for hours.

The next morning on Facebook you hear the news.  Broad Street–where you sailed blithely in search of the Eternal Ice Cream cone–was struck by high winds.  A tree crashed into Becky’s house.  Trees were uprooted everywhere.  The brick Sacred Heart School sign collapsed.

On the way to the dentist on Friday I survey the damage.

In another home, my usual dental assistant took pictures outside her house on Thursday night.  She decided the storm looked a little dangerous and stepped inside.  BAM!  A tree fell through her place, ten feet from where she surveyed photos on her camera.  She grabbed her camera and purse and dove outside.  Just in time.  The tree hit her stove and her home ignited…

Luckily, no one in our small community sustained injuries or death.

Thank the Universe so much.

Thank goodness Becky and Kiki are safe.

Thank goodness those who compulsively drove for ice cream cones weren’t struck by falling trees.

Thank you, reader, for listening to this report of my five calm quiet retreat days here in the calm woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in July 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Retreat, ice cream cone & one heck of a storm

  1. Hoo Boy! That Universe was really shaking her fist at a lot of people that day! Ice Cream temptations in the summertime are a mighty powerful thing, aren’t they Kathy? Why just the other night, right before bedtime I wondered why we don’t have any ice cream . . .

  2. Brenda Hardie says:

    Oh my goodness, Kathy! I am so relieved to know you are safe and sound! And that your friends escaped without harm. Sorry some lost their homes and suffered so much damage to their properties.
    Did Barry enjoy his fishing trip? I hope the mosquitoes didn’t eat him alive!
    I understand the desire for ice cream—been enjoying mango ice cream shakes (using v8 mango fusion juice) and oh boy they are yummy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I was so happy that no one in town seemed to be injured by the storm that went through. It’s sad about the damage to property though. Yes, Barry enjoyed his fishing trip. The fish weren’t biting as good as usual, though. He likes being together with his buddies, though. Those shakes sound delicious!

  3. Elisa says:

    Just enough to keep ya movin along to the better place at the right time!

    • Kathy says:

      I dunno, Elisa. It was a close call… OK, I admit to having a close eye on the radar loop before leaving the house. And it was at least 45 minutes after getting home that the storm hit.

  4. Elisa says:

    I’m so sorry for those that had a loss of entire property!! All that I think I can offer are hugs. Let me know if there is anything tangible that I might do.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Elisa. I am sorry, too. Have been in touch with one of the women who had damage to her house. Luckily, insurances will cover a lot of the damage. Don’t know about everyone. Will let you know if I hear of any tangible need.

  5. Carol says:

    Hoo boy! If that’s how the Universe is going to react when you drive to town for ice cream, maybe you should store some in the freezer. Just to avoid future catastrophes you understand.

    • Kathy says:

      *smile* Carol, some how I don’t think my driving to town for ice cream caused the storm… But I will seriously consider your suggestion. Except for the fact it’s much better for the waistline to avoid ice cream in the freezer at all costs.

  6. june perkins says:

    So glad you are safe.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you so much, June. Glad that wind storm didn’t do any damage to any of those in our small town. I know you’ve had some experience with these kind of challenges.

  7. bearyweather says:

    Exciting! I am very glad everything turned out okay. Guess the universe had to work a lot harder in your area to blow the stubborn, hot, humid weather away and the heavenly cooler weather in.
    Ice cream does have a tendancy to make everything better though, doesn’t it?

    • Kathy says:

      Bearyweather, Barry said it wasn’t quite so severe out on Isle Royale. The temps there were in the 70’s, but the temps in our area were in the 90’s. He was more concerned about us here at home because of the high temps. Yes, ice cream does have that gift of soothing our souls, especially on hot summer days.

  8. Holy Smokes! I’m so glad that no one got hurt…scared out of their wits, for sure – but not hurt!

    [If I were going to trigger a colossal storm while satisfying a craving, it would be for mesquite bar-b-que chips, the Kettle kind, AND red licorice – might as well get BOTH if I was going to drive 12 miles]…

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I’m glad everyone was safe, too. As for mesquite bar-b-que chips, you sound like you have a Salt Tooth more than a Sugar Tooth, although that red licorice qualifies in the latter category. I can’t imagine driving 12 miles for salt. Ooops, better not say that. You never know. 🙂

  9. john says:

    You are giving everyone the ice cream munchies!

  10. That was some storm! Sorry about your friend’s home being damaged.

    • Kathy says:

      Did you get a storm like this down in the Lower? It really didn’t come by our house. Even it town it stayed on certain roads and never reached the downtown area by the lake. It’s interesting how storms will weave their own unique kind of path.

      • Did you hear about the truck being flipped on the bridge?

        We had some puny little storms come through to knock a few limbs down, but no rain to speak of. From Kalamazoo south and east got the big storms.

        • Kathy says:

          Yes, I saw that on the news, too. Scary! That bridge has always scared me a bit, anyway. Would be afraid to drive across in high winds. Glad to hear you only had puny storms.

  11. sybil says:

    Sometimes having a damn peach just ain’t enough.

    BTW, how far is it to town ?

    That’s pretty awful about Becky’s house. Glad she wasn’t injured.

    • Kathy says:

      And WHY couldn’t that peach be enough? Inquiring minds beg to know. (Twelve miles to town, she admitted in a whisper.) It was awful about Becky’s house. And Kiki’s house. So glad no one was injured!

  12. lisaspiral says:

    Sounds like the storm where we lost our power. At least I wasn’t out on that evening! I’m glad you were safe. I was waiting for the storm to hit your house while you were away and dreading what you would come back to! The universe works that way sometimes. I’m sure your friend is familiar with THAT feeling. Good to hear everyone is safe and sound. I’m jealous of your weekend “retreat”.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, the storm actually really never hit our house out in the woods. It only seemed to blow the strongest in town–and even then missed the downtown section and many areas. Can not imagine coming home to a house that had been devastated. Actually, I was watching the radar loop before leaving the house and thought that could probably make it to town and back before the storm actually hit.

      The retreat, except for this small episode, was very peaceful… wishing you can have one sometime…

  13. I’m so glad that your tempation/s did not have dire consequences. And that all is ok with you Barry. Is that pushing boundaries or taking chances to get that almighty ice cream cone?

    • Kathy says:

      Oh, yes, it was shameless behavior, Yvonne. Just shameless. (In truth, I was watching the radar loop before leaving the house and figured there would be plenty of time to get to town and back home before the storm really hit. And it didn’t hit until 45 minutes after I got back. So it wasn’t so nip and tuck as it felt.)

  14. Susan Derozier says:

    Thank goodness you made it back safe and to an undamaged home. So sorry for your friends who were not so fortunate. We’ve been getting those storms too. I came out from an appointment to a bright and cheery sky and then turned west and was SHOCKED to see a completely black sky moving in that looked like one of those end of the world movies. Pedal to the medal and home just in time. Stay safe. Gosh, I wish I had a dairy queen cone right now. Look what you’ve done!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, it seems like there are many more storms like these lately. That black sky must have been pretty scary to you. Glad you returned home safely, too. Thinking you need to get a dairy queen. Oh, I’ll bet you already sped to the nearest shop to get one! 🙂

  15. lucindalines says:

    Boy if that is calm, I don’t want to hear about something exciting.

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Lucinda, I was joking about it being “calm”. Actually, 90% of my time alone was calmer than the calmest time. It was only that little storm that shook up some excitement and challenges for the community.

  16. Kerry Dwyer says:

    This inspired me to make some ice cream and check the supporting beams.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank goodness, Kerry! We all need to check our supporting beams. By the way, what flavor of ice cream do you like best, and do they have gelato in France?

      • Kerry Dwyer says:

        I like good old vanilla or caramel fleur du sel. They have gelato in Italian shops but not widely available. The best place to get it is seaside towns.

        • Kathy says:

          “Caramel fleur du sel” sounds mouth-watering good. Hmmm, if there was any of this in town…excuse me…must go check now!

          (Just kiddin….)

  17. CMSmith says:

    Sometimes we just have to feel young and impetuous again. I’m glad you went for it. I’m even gladden you survived.

    • Kathy says:

      Exactly, Christine. You hit the nail on the head. When “young and impetuous” arrives we have to grab the reigns and have some fun. It doesn’t hit near as often as it used to…

  18. Heather says:

    Jinkies Kathy, and OhMyGoodnessGracious! I’m glad that despite all the trees attacking that everyone came away safely. And some with ice cream.

    • Kathy says:

      Jinkies, Heather? Well, you have just lured me with a new word. Jinkies! I love it! All’s well that ends well, as the saying goes. (It was a little hard to return to calm meditating after that excitement…so guess what I did? Took a walk outside. A lovely evening post-rain hike.)

  19. debyemm says:

    Oh yes, we get straight line winds with thunderstorms here in the forest in Missouri and they can do every bit as much damage as a tornado. It is hard for a tornado to actually touch down here because of the hills and valleys. Happy that those you care about are safe and happy you were safe too. I’ve done similarly foolish things – drove 2 hrs to St Louis in the beginning of a severe winter storm that was ICE closest to home and ended up deciding more sanely that it was safer to remain there overnight, than attempt to get home. What a difference that single “extra” day made to my safety. And yes, I really don’t think an ice cream cone craving is a “good enough” reason to risk one’s life. I think you were just going stir-crazy !!!

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, yes, that’s what they called them. “Straight line winds”. Yes, it was good to be home safely before the storm hit the town. I remember you telling me about that icy storm trip to St. Louis. You were very lucky! Icy snow storms scare me so much. I don’t think even an ice cream cone would lure me out in ice or snow… Better not say that. Let’s just hope it wouldn’t. I am much more cautious in the winter. Stir-crazy, you say? You’re probably a bit right!

  20. that would make me stop and go hmmmm…………..scary stuff–that is what comes of too much calm and quiet (though I must say your perception of calm and quiet is a lot more active than mine)

    • Kathy says:

      LouAnn, I was kinda tongue-in-cheek with this discussion of “calm and quiet”, lol! Actually 90% of the time it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the forest. It was only Thursday night when things got a little topsy turvey (literally) for a few minutes!

  21. msmcword says:

    I have a sweet-tooth, and let me tell you that ice cream is not safe with me!
    I hope your power was not out for too long.


    • Kathy says:

      Nancy, I am glad you understand Ice Cream Passion. The power was out for several hours. I came home and took a long walk on the road by our house.

  22. Stacy says:

    Everybody needs calm, retreat days like that one, Kathy. I’m “retreating” myself while Norm is on his annual mancation-motorcross trip with his brother. The ice cream bug hasn’t hit me, but I have been contemplating driving 11 miles into town to get some fruit trees that are on sale. Should I? ❤

  23. Dawn says:

    I am unable to resist ice cream. So we don’t keep it in the house. Except this week, as blueberries are in season and blueberries over vanilla ice cream…..oh my. NOW…as far as YOUR Ice Cream Adventure…Glad you got through it without a scratch. And I hope that the two ladies lives will settle down in a good way soon!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, glad you understand about the problem of keeping ice cream in the house. Ohhhh, blueberries! Can’t wait until we have the first of those blueberries up here. Enjoy your blueberries and ice cream!

  24. jeff v says:

    hello Kathy, sorry we missed you at the jamboree .glad you weathered the big blow . I have taken to filling the fridge with ice whenever we come up on account of the power outages. small price to pay for being there though! Mary says she’s going to take up the concertina after hearing it played so beautifully last weekend.

    • Kathy says:

      Were you at the Jamboree too this year, Jeff? I worked for my usual two hours, went home for a while, and came back for a few hours in the evening. So glad you enjoyed your time here and that Mary is inspired from the performance!

  25. Karen says:

    I don’t know if you should have anymore retreat days. They are too heart pounding in my opinion. Thank goodness that you and your friends didn’t get hurt. Now tell me, have you gotten that Snickers ice cream yet?

  26. Glad you made it home again, safe & sound – and your friends were uninjured during that wicked storm! Such scary stuff!

  27. Reggie says:

    Oh my goodness, Kathy, what a close escape! And all for an ice-cream! Mind you, I can relate to that too… when the craving for dark bitter chocolate takes over. I am relieved to hear you are alright after that hair-raising drive.

  28. dorannrule says:

    Wooohoooo! What an adventure in the name of a simple ice cream cone! You showed desperate determination and you are to be applauded for courage Kathy. Glad noone was hurt and you survived to spend more time in your calm retreat. 🙂

  29. Robin says:

    If that’s calm and quiet, I don’t think I could take it. LOL! What an adventure! And all for an ice cream cone. I’m glad the story ended well (or well enough since nobody was hurt).

    • Kathy says:

      tee hee, Robin, it was a funny night. Thank you for stoppin’ by and reading. Do you like ice cream? Have you been known to impulsively pursue it??

      • Robin says:

        Funny you should ask that. I’ve given up so many things lately in the name of health, and ended up replacing them with an occasional ice cream habit. Not just any ice cream. There is a local dairy here that treats their cows well, and they make the ice cream right there on the farm and sell it in their little store. It is The Best Ice Cream In The World. I had to, just HAD TO, drive over there today even though it was out of the way and pick up some of their Blueberry Crunch ice cream. I would have died without it. (lol! Not really.)

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