At fifty, my own life has not come to much and my death sits in a straight-back chair under a lilac bush in the garden behind the house, reading my old letters, waiting. He is in no hurry to come knock on the back door. There’s plenty to keep him interested in the piles of […]Read more "Turning Sixty"
I drove to Rydell National Wildlife Refuge early Saturday morning. The sky was overcast, the air was cool and heavy with moisture. Rain drops pelted my windshield periodically, testing, I think, a forecast that promised sunny skies after recent heavy rains. I drove on, challenging the sky to change my plans, which it didn’t. Soon […]Read more "Let Me Go"
Lately I sometimes think I am done writing. Days and weeks pass, and I find I have nothing to say. I ask myself, “How can this be? I read. I write journal entries. I compose letters. I venture outdoors. I photograph.” In spite of the stimulus, I find I think and hear nothing new. My […]Read more "Journeys Without End"
Life bores deep holes in us in hopes the nature of what we are might sink into us…. —Jim Harrison There is a truth found in running long miles each morning. There is a realization that comes at the end of the first-half of the run that however tired, however hard the wind blows, however hot […]Read more "The Nature of What We Are"
At 12:45 this afternoon the temperature is -2. The wind is blowing 30 miles per hour. The windchill is -27. The fact that the sun is shining does not soften the inhospitableness of the afternoon. The wind moans; snow cuts through the air; drifts climb steadily higher against the shed and house. There will be […]Read more "Late February Thoughts"
I wake now to the gray skies of November, mornings begun in darkness, workdays ending in the same. Final skeins of migrating geese stretch pencil-thin against the clouds; snow squalls blow suddenly from the north, halt, then blow again. The sun makes its appearance, apologizes, and disappears. The wind bites. The temperature drops. Winter returns. […]Read more "Winter Again"
From as far back as I can remember, I’ve wished for companionship — a companion. And now as I near the last years of my life, I realize that though this dreamed-for companionship will elude me, I have somehow, in some unplanned way, filled that need with my own self. As I bicycle down gravel […]Read more "I Dream of Journeys"
Frost touched northwestern Minnesota early Thursday morning. Just like that, summer ended. We now watch the forecast closely, tarps at hand to cover late-ripening tomato and pepper plants. Beets and carrots are pulled; soups simmer in stock pots and slow cookers. Yellow squash is blanched and frozen. Spent plants are gathered and thrown atop the […]Read more "Inevitable Change"
I have thought much since January how life is tentative. I have known abstractly the brevity of life – how war extinguishes breath, the soldier and civilian’s; how famine weakens and illness encroaches; how epidemics — smallpox, tuberculosis, yellow fever, and cholera —sweep aside generations in their path. Polio was the childhood fear of my mother. […]Read more "I Walk"
The world is cloudy this morning — gray with late-winter light — but yesterday! Yesterday was really something! Something to get out into; something beautiful and bright! Blue skies stretched from east to west. The March sun held warmth — real warmth — and I celebrated with hands bared as I snowshoed across the compacting drifts, […]Read more "Slowly We Return to Earth, or a Walk in the March Sun"