Category Archives: The Future

Emus As Symbols

Todays post comes from NorthShorer.

Like everyone, I suppose, I made assumptions about what I would be like in retirement. I imagined a man straight of back, steady of hand, with a piercing chilling blue-eyed gaze. Well, make that a deep mysterious brown-eyed distant look above a rich white beard to tell of the lessons I had learned of wind and wave, time and tide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead I ended up being a doubled-over rumpled dumpling who cannot look at much but the ground, lost in pain, not deep thoughts.

You know what they say about people who assume. You end up being as daft as emus, a person who amuses others with fake truths. I like the word assumption, with its sump right in the middle, where one ends up from assuming.

But, of course, it is false thinking that making assumptions is bad. Life is based on assumptions. For example, we assume much about people we encounter on the road, that they will be polite and careful. It is only the few times our assumptions are false that we notice, and then over-generalize about it. It is also wise to assume idiots are on the road and keep a weather eye for them.

Love is a large assumption. If we do not assume trust and fidelity, then we cannot really love. Or in agape love, I assume I can only give and assume from their it is not my concern. Feed a starving dog and it may bite you, they say. But love says you assume perhaps it will. You guard your fingers and keep feeding. Who knows what the starving dog has survived.

So go ahead. Be an emu. Stick your long neck out.

But I assume I could be wrong.

What bird is your totem?

Sew Buttons on Your Underwear

Forty years ago I gave myself a quest: to photograph MY North Shore, the stretch from Flood Bay to Silver Cliff, or as locals called it then, Silver Creek Cliff. Because I had use of a darkroom, it was at first all done in black and white, or perhaps with some sepia toning, or duotone effect, or Sabattier effect. Flood Bay back then was not the mass of concrete and curbs and cables it is now. It was then as it is now one of the very few official state wayside rests. Despite that, back then it was just a gravel patch with some posts to keep people from driving into the lake, which every so often people still managed to do. Locals routinely hauled away lake stone and gravel for their use, which left no dent on the amount on the shore. Also, then there was no monstrous resort along the shore. And Silver Cliff was a road, not a tunnel. The pictures I framed in simple shadow boxes without glass. I hung them on our knotty pine living room wall. (More about that later.)

The winnowing process of history to our benefit has eliminated most of the pictures. A few exist in my computer, taken from the negatives. My goal was to push pictures to expressionism. Often with high or low contrast.

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One picture that I took in the remnants of a lumber mill a quarter mile from Betty’s Pies was our Christmas card picture.

Sometimes good fortune favored me, when it disfavored elsewhere with a massive storm.

A few I have drawn in graphite or pastel, often doing some adjustment of reality.

One sad picture remains, even though I did not frame it. How did history not winnow this poor picture out? It must be a sign, must it not. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

When this picture first appeared in the developing fluid, my first thought was it not worth making anything of it. My second thought was that here indeed was a sign. It must be from God giving me my life’s quest. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) It could not be just random change. I was, in fact, until recently quite good with needle and thread, which my mother taught me at an early age, despite long sideways glances from my father.

I am sad to report that I never did discover how to fulfill the quest. Sigh. And now my chance is lost. Sigh. But I did fulfill one smaller quest and quite by accident. An undisciplined boy a year older than my son lived down the road from us. He was often in our house as small boy but not later. His teens were much troubled, as were his twenties. Now he is a brilliant photographer. I mean that. Does amazing work in the camera and in his computer. Travels the worlds. Makes a good living. Has a happy life. Most of his work is of the North Shore. He is friends with both of my children on facebook, where he told them that his inspiration came from looking at those photographs on our wall. To think such beauty came from such a shriveled seed!

Did you find a life’s quest? How has it gone?

On His Way to the Glory Pasture

I was reading the obituaries in the local paper this week and the following caught my eye in an obituary of an older man who had been a rancher and avid rodeo participant : “___________   went through his Last Chute Number on his way to the Glory Pasture.” It was surprisingly poetic for our paper and certainly spoke of the unwavering faith of the cara defunto.

Billy Graham went to the Glory Pasture this week. I had no idea he was still alive. My paternal grandfather was very insistent  in the days before his death to remind my dad and uncle to make sure their mother “didn’t give her money to any of those TV preachers.” He viewed them as charlatans.  Grandma was raised Baptist and joined the Methodist Church because there was no Baptist congregation near their farm. She was happy as a Methodist but loved watching TV preachers in her later years.  Grandpa didn’t like it and never gave money to any church, much less anybody on the TV.

The Reverend Graham’s  brand of salvation never appealed much to me, being perfectly happy as a Lutheran, but it certainly did to others. In 1978, 70,000 people showed up over three days to see him in Fargo.  He must have spoken to some need in their beings, and I certainly am not being a critic of him or them. I like to think of my grandparents and Mr. Graham and the bronc buster all in the Glory Pasture having a real nice time.

What do you hope your  Glory Pasture is like? 

 

 

Choosing Your Revolution

Today’s post comes from Chris, Reneeinnd’s husband.

Listening to late-night radio as a student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison,   I heard Gil Scott-Heron’s  “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”:

If you were to create a revolution, how would you go  about doing it?

Everything Old is New Again

Husband read this to me the other night. It is from Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses S. Grant. He is describing a 19th century railroad baron. Remind you of anyone we know?

With his handsome blond mustache, bloated frame, and  diamond rings, the flashy Jim Fisk was the antithesis of the saturnine Gould. The son of a Vermont peddler, he collected prostitutes and chorus girls no less promiscuously than he bought railroads and steamships and exulted in the attention his flamboyance aroused. Such was his roguish charm that people were captivated even as they were horrified by his total lack of scruples. As George Templeton Strong sketched him: ‘Illiterate, vulgar, unprincipled, profligate, always making himself conspicuously ridiculous by some piece of flagrant ostentation, he was, nevertheless, freehanded with his stolen money, and possessed, moreover, a certain magnetism of geniality that attracted to him people who were not particular about the decency of their associates ‘.   Chernow, R. (2017),  p 673.  Grant. Penguin Press: New York.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  What trends from the past would you like to see again?

Hoping

Every morning our grey cat sits expectantly  by the front door, waiting.  She waits for the magic moment when the light appears on the living room wall and ceiling above our media cabinet.   She knows it is somehow associated with my cell phone.  This morning she saw me walk into the living room with my phone, and immediately jumped on top of the media cabinet, waiting for the light. The kitten stays on the floor, as her legs are too short to make the leap to the top.  The light sometimes appears low enough for her to pounce, and she waits for it, too.

When I sit in the love seat  by the bay window, the sun reflects off my cell phone screen and I can flash a light all over the walls and ceiling. The kitten tries to grab it. It always slips between her paws. The grey cat just sits and watches it with fascination and excitement.  It seems to be strangely satisfying for her, as though her day is off to a good start when the light appears.  As the days shortened this fall, the light sometimes didn’t even show up, since the sun wasn’t in the right position until after I left for work.  The grey cat never gave up hope.  She waited each morning.

Today we planned our garden and chose the seed varieties for next summer. I hope the rains come and we don’t have a drought.   I don’t think we are too different from our cats, waiting with hope for the promise of light in this dark season and these even darker times.

The new year has just started. What are you hoping for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, What Now?

I have mulled over this topic  for the past couple of weeks,  as one man (and  few women) after another has lost his job, credibility, and respect with accusations and admissions of sexual harassment and assault.  My first thought through all this has been “They are really lucky I am not their mother!!!!”

My husband used to assess low and moderate risk convicted sex offenders, usually those who had committed crimes against children,  for their suitability for treatment. We know from research that the sooner those folks are integrated back in the community and have jobs and stability,  along with ongoing therapy and careful monitoring by their probation officers, the less likely they are to re-offend.

What do we do now with the Al Frankens, Roy Moores,  and John Conyers  of this country?  How do we heal, and promote inclusivity for all our citizens? I wonder if the model of Truth and Reconciliation, used in South Africa after the end of Apartheid has relevance here.  I believe that in that circumstance people admitted their wrong doing, faced their victims, and engaged in meaningful acknowledgement of the damage their actions had caused. Then they ceased engaging in the behavior that was so harmful and wrong.  People could move ahead.

So, what do you think we should do now?