Showing posts from October, 2010

Thirty Before Thirty

I turned twenty-nine earlier this month. At risk of offending many of you, THAT SOUNDS OLD. I know, I know: there's lots of life ahead of me, but as I can't quite quiet the tick-tock-tick-tock thoughts, and as I'm one of those goal-oriented dreamers, I've constructed a list of (almost) thirty Minnesota/nature/writerly things I'd like to experience before the big 3-0.

Here are my ideas so far:
Climb on top of a hay bale and sing something
Make a pumpkin pie from scratch
Canoe and fish for sunnies on St. John's University's Lake Sagatagan
Canoe through Lake Shetek to Loon Island
Revisit the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area
Visit Minnehaha Falls
Visit the Root River Valley
Go strawberry and/or raspberry picking
Take a friend to the Carver Country Reserve
Discover a new park
Learn to name and identify at least five new plants
Learn to name and identify at least three new bird calls
Explore some new place along the North Shore
Go cross-country skiing
Make an impressive sno…


This is a dicey night for breathing. Air moves. Rather, it rushes. Something cold and northerly pounds against my windowpanes like one-hundred shoulders—in flight or pursuit, I cannot tell which. Lightning flashes. Thunder booms. There is wind and rain and snapping tree branches, snapping trees, all the remaining leaves whirling up in a maddening gyre, spinning furiously to a music that hisses through what remains in the fields. I have my ear to the glass, my hand on the window latch. There are old superstitions about stolen breath, but I am curious, and too snug anyway.




"In a world where change seems the only constant, where the past is increasingly suspect and the future ever more doubtful, it is exhilarating to be in touch with something that 'binds together all humanity--the dead to the living and the living to the unborn.'"
-- Paul Gruchow quoting Joseph Conrad From Travels in Canoe Country

The Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters from Alex Horner on Vimeo.

This is a beautiful video made by Alex Horner. I found it via the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (another great organization I'll have to lend a full shout-out to soon). Thanks to all involved for sharing such inspiring work. I hope this carries you into a relaxing, rich weekend.



One Way To Stay Warm

In many ways, this has been a difficult fall for me. The health of ill family members have worsened. A cousin--a young, well-loved woman--died. Some stories that students trust me with are heartbreaking. Insecurity, in its strange high-schoolish form, keeps poking at my back. And people I love are moving away. There are so many forces pushing against each other inside of me that often when I return home from work, I feel the bruise of exhaustion in my organs. Especially my heart. It feels raw from beating.
But then I find myself on another walk, standing underneath a collection of leaves that are as red as any working muscle, and it's an improbably beautiful thing. Beautiful in its color, yes. In the way the light sweeps around it. But also in that it's this red right now. That I'm in the world on this exact axis. That I did not arrive one day earlier--because it would have looked some other way--or one day later--because perhaps tonight there will be wind or rain or the le…

The Nature Conservancy

A shout out:

If you've never heard of or checked out The Nature Conservancy, ladies and gentleman, now is the time. They're involved in important work all over the world, and if you love yourself some unspoiled places, it's likely that they've had a hand or at least a finger in either the preservation of that locale or the preservation of public opinion that such sanctuaries matter. In Minnesota alone, TNC has helped conserve more than 500,000 acres of wild habitat. That's no small field of grass. And the photography they post? Let's just say it's not ugly.

There are plenty of other strong organizations out there, too. Please leave a link in the comments if you think there's one in particular I need to know about!

Bird Song

Go here! This is one of the coolest interactive creations I've found on the web in a while, so kudos to the creator (and the DNR!). Make sure to check out the black-capped chickadee. He's my favorite.

Carver Park Reserve

My commute home from work usually takes about thirty minutes. On Wednesday, it took me three hours. And I mean that literally: the road took over. And then it was a paved path leading me. And then a gravel one. And then any number or variety of field. 

How I've never discovered the Carver Park Reserve until yesterday I have no idea, being that I've driven past signs on Highway 7 indicating its presence hundreds and hundreds of times. I am a curious person, prone to driving down unfamiliar roads, reading books in strange parks, putting myself in situations that at one point (probably still) would have made my father nervous, so I really should have sniffed this place out long ago. But the important thing is that I've found it now, and that I turned down County Road 11 again yesterday, and that I will continue to do so throughout this golden season and into the next because it's a place to get lost in on purpose hour after hour after hour. 

Carver Park Reserve is located t…