I grew up in Northern Minnesota. I could step out of my room and see a deer walking in the trees. I could step out onto the dock and catch my evening meal out of the lake. I thought that was normal when I was young. Even in school, my International Falls classmates included a lot of kids like me. They lived away from the town center, in the middle of nature. Sure, some of them lived in town, but even they had family or friends outside and could enjoy the same life I did on the weekends. We grew up on the lake, in the woods, under the stars, breathing crisp morning air. It was paradise. I didn’t realize at the time how rare it was. Now I do, and I can say without reservation that I was blessed to grow up on the edge of civilization.