Here is how Month Away starts: I finished Cutting for Stone last night. One of the best novels I’ve ever read. My husband and son, now headed back to Cincinnati, are taking it back to the library. [Tonight. Right?]

This is my first hour of a month in Michigan.

We’ve loved northern Michigan for 30 years but until now, only a week at a time. A few years ago the cottage we’d rented was torn down; we needed a new family getaway place.

We found a cottage 5 miles up the coast. We’re still on Old Mission Peninsula, West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay, just down from the lighthouse. Wes and the kids will be here in the middle of the month, and then Wes and me for the last week. For the next two weeks, I’m by myself. 

In the lead up to Month Away I whittled down my to-do list. I didn’t buy a sewing machine. Some day, but not this summer. 

I declined a project I’d expected to take on, a jewel of an assignment. I was to listen to a bunch of interviews and frame a half-century’s wisdom into a story. That would have been fun to work on here. But to fit my time alone window, the client had to be ready for me to start by July 1. Didn’t happen. Oh well.

I didn’t bring a food processor or blender. I would have used the processor maybe once. As for the blender, I love smoothies but not that much. 

My list: A lot of walking with Scout, a lot of it in the water. A little writing. A lot of reading.

This morning we walked south along the shore. The water is a bit rockier here, but not bad. The Zebra Mussels are absent on this stretch of beach. The water is crystal clear.

Back at the cottage: I brought a stack of books, but the bookshelf here called me as soon as we walked in. Serious readers have enjoyed this cottage. The weird (at least surprising) thing is, the books are alphabetized. I started at the far right on the lower shelf. The first book was The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. Never read it. It’s that easy.