Life is full of surprises these days, and change can be exhilarating as well as challenging. But it is constant. Spring finally arrived in Minnesota and lasted just a day or two. I was finally able to turn my heat off one Friday in May, and a few days later Minnesota temperatures hovered in the mid 80’s. And now, every day when I check my garden the growth is spectacular. Red buds finally in bloom—late but very welcome. 

Last month I shared an excerpt from Finding Grace, a scene early in Charlie and Caroline’s marriage just as they re-located to Duluth for their careers, and into their first home on the shore of Lake Superior—quite a change for the East Coast transplants. It’s a happy start for them, but for any new couple, a period of adjustment should be expected. This excerpt is from Chapter Three.

The next day, Charlie gave Caroline a tour of the town. Two Harbors had a decidedly small town feel; the ore dock lively with tourists and locals who frequented the hiking trail nearby to catch a view of the big boats navigating in by the light house. The tugboat, the Edna G, on permanent display in the harbor. It didn’t take long to show her downtown, just a street or two of businesses, with the hardware store at the heart of the activity. A few gas stations, one supermarket and a few restaurants on Highway 61, the highway that bisected the town. It was not a big city, but had everything that they needed.

Caroline was keen on visiting Hawk Ridge in Duluth the first week she was there and seeing her face light up when she took it in, he knew it would be one of their haunts. She had a fondness for raptors, especially peregrine falcons. She was entranced with their resurgence from near extinction, their speed and adaptability to new environments kept her interested in searching for them wherever they may be.

Charlie had been to his school a couple of times to meet with the principal, Patricia Benson, and to have a look around his classroom. After they toured his classroom, a big boxy room with rows of lab tables and surrounded by cupboards labeled with sharpie ink, he realized how much he had to do to get it set up in the next ten days, when she said, “So, make sure you bring your wife to the annual teacher back to school pot luck dinner. What’s her name again?” 

“Caroline.” He wondered how that would go. Charlie wasn’t in the habit of requiring things from Caroline.

Patricia seemed to sense his hesitation. “Well, it’s important that you introduce her to the other teachers and their spouses. This is a small town and it’s good to know one another. We’ve been teaching the children of this town for eons and know all of the families here. You’d be surprised how helpful it is to be able to call on a colleague once in awhile. Especially during your first teaching year. And, support from your wife will be very important.”

Later, on the drive home, Charlie thought he would like these people. He couldn’t get a read on Caroline, but she seemed to say all of the right things. He asked her, “So, what did you think of the party?”

“I assume we only need to do that once a year, right Charlie?” Caroline was scanning the sky through her window, already searching for something new on the horizon.

What do you think? Every new relationship is tested early with the realities of individual careers to be tended and relocation is one of the biggest life transitions to navigate. How well do you expect Caroline and Charlie to handle this period of adjustment?

By the way, the featured image is of me at Hawk Ridge a few years ago. Great raptor watching!