News and Notes
18 November, 2010
"Get to the emergency room", she said. No, not my wife; but the woman at the desk where we were staying in Sedona, AZ. When I picked up a wash cloth in the sink he stung me. Stung in the thumb, the pain was rather amazing! I mean, he didn't seem that big!! A guy, checking his email said, "Let's see what the internet says"! So I ended up calling poision control. Jenifer assured me that I'd have a good chance to live, told me what "may" happen, called me back to check on me and was exactly right. The pain gradually worked its way up my arm, through the elbow, and finally to the shoulder. There was even a time when I would look at my thumb and could not move it. Then, gradually, during a week's time, the pain worked back to my thumb. Two week after the sting my thumb is still numb; but scorpion is dead. (I had shoes on when I stepped on him!) I guess I'm the lucky one! Perhaps I've "STUNG" someone as hard as scorpion did and yet I'm still alive. Still alive and able to feel pain. I'm a lucky man.
Loon & I
27 September, 2010
We were both fishing! Both getting ready to start a "round". For me, the 8th time I've left this North Country, to head for my winter home in Arizona. From loon's light grey color, I'd guess this would be his first. This year's hatch! Most older loons are gone, the young ones still readying themselves. I stopped casting and watched loon dive under my boat, coming up on either side; each time a little closer, back and forth he moved. Finally, about 12 feet away, he stood up with his white breast facing me and opened wide his wings. Stretching his wings, dreaming of the long flight to come? Waving bye? Loon was fishing for norishment to help fill his body for the trip South. I was fishing for nourishment to help fill my heart with memories to sustain me until my, hopeful, return in the spring. I was filled with awe by loon's acceptance of my boat and I in such close proximity. I was filled with awe from the sun reflecting off the still water, the yellow birch, red maple and golden popple leaves, releasing themselves from thier summer homes. Snapping turtle surfaced within four feet of my boat. He stuck his head out of the water and looked at me for 8-10 seconds as if to say "it's almost time"; and then slowly backed towards the bottom. Eagle flew by saying "see ya next year" and "sing the song"! I have long since learned that fishing isn't made for catching fish, rather for making memories; but I did catch and release 2 Northern Pike and 2 Largemouth Bass. I can only hope that loon was nourished as well as I. Perhaps we both reminded ourselves of the beauty of the northland, to hold it within and hopefully, to complete the round with a spring return. A spring reunion. We were both fishing, loon and I.
16 May, 2010
Some of you may recall that last year, an old oak tree died by our cabin. I wrote about her on June 3, 2009. (You can still read it in the news section-scroll down.) As she had grown towards our cabin, I had to take her down. I burned wood for a quarter century (no more) and can't recall ever taking a "live" tree; but we killed this grand old oak when we remodeled our cabin. I guess the encouragement and energy I sent her last year was not enough; so I cut her down. I take responsibility. I am sad! I have learned much from trees. Still have much to learn! I left her stump standing, so I can sit and be quiet. Feeling stump beneath me, I am conected to earth. Mother earth! Perhaps stump will still teach as I acknowledge my sadness. Tree down and I miss her.
All Day Rain
30 April, 2010
Now I remember what an "all day" rain is like. Actually, 3 days so far! Gentle. Nice. Life giving rain. Since arriving at the cabin in MN I've been greeted by swans, blue heron, mallard, Canada geese, wood duck, kingfisher, dead skunk, beaver, loon, osprey and, oh yes, a flying crappie. Really! I'm driving slowly on a narrow road with trees on each side; when an osprey flies about 10-15 feet above the ground down the middle of the road. As I catch up, I notice a crappie being held by osprey's talons. Water still dripping off the fish. I follow a short way and watch osprey land on the branch of a Norway Pine. She lands on one leg, with the other still clasping the fish. One leg! Dinner! Isn't nature amazing? Speaking of nature, the trip north was full of awesome sights. Another "great round" is completed. Another time of accepting our place of being with others who complete the round each year!! When we left our winter home in the desert, I was wearing shorts and t-shirt. One and a half hours later, in Payson, AZ, I nearly froze to death when I got out of the car. Strong winds and 45 degrees! Bought a jacket for $1.00 at a thrift store and proceeded to drive through a blizard east of Payson. What were we thinking? But we made it to Canyon De Chelly in NE AZ; where we stopped at each viewpoint on the south rim. Met a Navajo woman who, next fall, will be taking us into the canyon. She'll show us where her Mom and Dad were born and where she lived. It will be amazing. Canyon De Chelly is worth the time. Go and be awestruck!! The next day we were able to drive the 17 miles of rough, rocky road through Monument Valley, also a part of the Navajo Nation. Very glad to have finally seen the magestic rocks and be able to get a sense of the energy there. We also drove through the Natural Bridge National Monument, viewed 3 natural bridges and were able to hike into one of them. Pretty cold for our AZ blood, but the $1.00 coat felt good! We then followd the "White Canyon", caught I-70 and drove to Grand Junction, CO for the night! We did only 750 miles in two days, but will do it again, as the countryside was fantastic! I-70 is the most wonderful interstate I've ever traveled. Beautiful sights along the way. BUT we did not count on all the snow around Vail. Semis were all putting on chains to go up the summit! Lots of slush and I was reminded by my wife, Ranelle, why she does not want to live in MN in the winter. Several times!! But we made it, and after driving north of Denver and through Wyoming; we finally hooked up with I-90 in SD and spent another night. Then on to Hawley, MN where our daughter, Amber, had dinner waiting for us! AND IT WAS STILL HOT!! Our last two days of driving we covered 1300 miles. We arrived at the cabin the next day. Glad to be back in the North Country. Glad to have made another round! Glad to be able to enjoy this all day rain.
Thoughts for April
31 March, 2010
At this time of year I begin thinking of the trip North. Plan on leaving around the end of April, so there are few days left here in the dessert SW. Lately, on my hikes in the mountains; I couldn't help but smile at all the color there. The wildflowers are in bloom. Once, while just sitting down to have lunch on a little rise; I noted 9 different blooms within a 10 foot radius of where I sat. Amazing color. Amazing, what rain does to the desert. Amazing, the blooms have such a short life. Compared to me. But then, that is what mountain says about me, I suppose. Enjoy!
Sadness Spoke Softly
18 January, 2010
A few days ago a friend and I went to search out the Shoe Arch in the Goldfield Mountains near where I live. We serched long and hard only to become very frustrated because we could not see it. Sometimes it can be hard to find things when you are looking for them. Reminds me of a line from a Bill Stains song. "The harder I try, the less that I see with my eyes." The Shoe Arch would not appear for us no matter how hard we tried. A few days later I received pictures and words from Ted Tenny, who has written a book on the Goldfield Mountains. The Shoe Arch is no longer! It was destroyed by vandels. It's true! How can someone go out and destroy an arch in the mountains? Destroy nature? Destroy a part of themself? Of course that seems to be what we as a people are doing to the Earth! I guess that's something to write about later. For now I will kiss the earth! I can't believe how sad I am.
14 September, 2009
Today, part way through my morning walk, I sat down on the stump of a white pine. Gazing into the woods, amazed at all the color, I noticed leaves floating to the forest floor. There was not a great rush of leaves, but rather a leaf or two every few seconds; so I could watch each one float down. It got me wondering if leaf just decided to go to ground, or if it was tree that decided to let go of leaf? Does it make a difference? Sometimes I see myself like that with life. Who's in charge here? To quote a song: "If I was a green oak leaf, growning on a tree, I would help to clean the air and be proud as I could be. But in the fall, I surely would, as my color changed to brown. And tree would finally set me free, to find my way to ground." I'm getting ready for another great round. Leaving the North woods for the SW desert. Joining with countless other creatures who travel from place to place each year. A lucky creature I am! So does tree hang on to leaf or leaf hang to tree? Perhaps there is an agreement between both. When the time is right. When they both realize!!! Perhaps I am like that as well! "Nothing dies the circle says!" And so I rise from the stump and give thanks for the lessons, if not totally learned, at least taught.
A wise dog's death
9 August, 2009
Our dog, Charcoal, just shy of her 17th bithday, went on her morning walk on August 6 and never returned. Quite old for a dog, she was mostly deaf and mostly blind; but she still seemed to enjoy her morning walks through the wet grass holding her tail high and using her nose, which still worked well! My wife and I have looked for her. We've traced the paths she love to walk. Hunted in the thick woods all around our cabin. Stood quiet, as we listened for any sounds she might make. She is gone. Perhaps she ran off in search of people who'd give her more treats! Maybe she was picked up by someone who felt sorry for her, lost and alone. She may have fallen in the lake, and not being much of a swimmer, drowned. Perhaps she was eaten by coyote. Or bear. Or.... Or.... Or maybe, just maybe, she went out into the woods to die on her own. Her own choice. Perhaps she knew she was to die soon and simply wanted the dignity of doing it her own way. That's what I choose to believe! Of the many possibilities, that's a choice I can make! Rather than being taken to the vet, as our family was close to doing, she went off on her own and did it her way. It causes me to wonder if I'll have a chance to do that? If I'll have the aility? Strength? Courage? The common sense? I wonder! The dignity of dying the way one chooses; I'll remember Charcoal for that. I'll keep that memory in my bag of memories and pull it out when I need it. Dying is something that must be done. Dying with dignity can be done. I thank a wise dog for that!
3 June, 2009
It's foggy today. Can't even see across the lake; but I can tell you it's green. Spring green! Even the hardwoods, although not yet fully formed, blessed us, again, with their leaves. All the hardwoods, except one! An oak tree. She has stood not more than 8 feet from our deck since before we bought this cabin. This spring, like the others in the woods, she pushed out buds; but after they grew a quarter inch long they just stopped. Now she stands bare, as if she thinks it is still winter. She still stands bare within this spring green woods. I still have hope! I still give her encouragement each day. Perhaps she's waiting for warm weather! Perhaps she decided it just wasn't worth it this year; saving her strength for next! Perhaps she died. It's foggy here today!
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