Mary Beth Writes

Here’s why I’ve not posted anything in nearly two weeks.

Last week Len and I took a trip to Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI. We hiked seven hikes, met new friends, ate too much. (We didn’t eat IN restaurants. We ate take-out dinners while sitting in our car overlooking Chequamegon Bay.) We marinated in the breezy Up North rhythms of woods, streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. 

Then we came home to all that stuff one does up returning; laundry, groceries, and bringing in the Big Dozers to deal with cat litter boxes. 

Monday I did a lot of catching up. Tuesday Michol and I drove 15 boxes of books (donated by a friend of Michol) from Waukesha to the Racine AAUW sale. I have decided my street name is Book Coyote, since my secret hustle is to ferry books safely across the border. (I’ll tell you more about the AAUW book sale for women’s scholarships soon.)

My right shoulder has been ached the past month so I saw my P.A. (Physician’s Assistant) yesterday. She says they are seeing a lot of this exact complaint! People at their computers, reading books, sitting around without proper arm support. I always knew that sooner or later I’d get a reading injury and here I am.  Upcoming physical therapy appointments are scheduled.

My P.A. asked if I would like to get my Covid booster plus a flu shot. Okay, that sounds exciting.  No side effects yesterday. Today I am sore at both injection sites and I’m extra tired but Ibuprofen and naps help. For all the drama vaccinations have become, the experience is generally undramatic.

Anyway, this is where I was.

I posted quite a few photos from our trip on my Instagram account. I’m mbdanielson and my icon is my face behind two green leaves. Feel free to follow me.  Warning: I post a lot of photos of cats. 

Our Trip Up North

I read this book back in February and then wrote about it. The book is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is the post: https://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/two-books-one-movie-reviews-me-2242021

“There is this: We know ourselves via the language that we speak. English is mostly nouns, with about 30% verbs. Ojibwe is 70% verbs. Much of English is about delineating gender. Anishinaabe doesn’t divide the world into sex.

Anishinaabe DOES describe the world according to the nature and properties of how things are changing, moving, growing, or interconnecting to something else. The example she uses is that a bay of water is not a bay. The Ojibwe word for bay is translated to a VERB meaning “to be a bay.” As if it might be something else tomorrow, which since a bay is filled with water, it might be. The bay is not the static noun where three sides of land are filled with water. A bay is the moving interconnection of trees, water entering from streams and springs, water moving outward to the lake or river, the interconnected life that happens in and around a bay. The bay is animate.

What Wall Kimmerer learns is that her native language not about what things are now, but about how things are connected. One does not own things. One is in a relationship for a day or a lifetime and the language speaks to that.

Most of the Christian theology and worldview we have been raised in is linear and future oriented.  We claim our faith because it promises us heaven when we die, which helps us endure so much of what we experience in our lives. We learn to make lists, think ahead, have a plan, work hard towards our goals. We “share our faith” by giving others the tools we think we couldn’t live without. Like how to make a list and have a plan. 

But what if we back away from seeing our world as on it’s way to being some other reality than it is today?

What if we understand the point and purpose of our lives in not a tidy funeral and well-provisioned kids?

What if we stop in our tracks and look around? What do we see? Where are we?

These questions were in me last week. Specifically, right here, watching the sun sparkle on Lake Superior. The lake was rustling and whooshing. Breezes moved through the pines trees. It smelled fresh and perfect. I could feel that nothing was a noun; air and water was moving all around me and the molecules of me were part of everything that was moving and swirling and changing.

We hiked around Gooseberry Falls, watched the river tumble over five waterfalls and then keep pushing and falling over the basalt rocks. Northern Ash dazzled with three colors of leaves all at. 

It helps to be old to think thoughts like these. When you are young you have to make sandwiches and find the restrooms and keep the toddlers from falling in the water and buy stuff in the giftshop. I liked those trips, too.

 

Gooseberry Falls State Park is 40 miles north of Duluth

We’ve hiked the Houghton Falls hike every time we have been to Ashland. It’s just a bit north of Washburn, there’s a sign on Highway 13 that says where to turn.

One parks in the small lot, walk along a plank path through the woods until you are suddenly right next to a deep ravine cut into the topography. (There were two kinds of rock there a bazillion years and the fluffier rock washed away.) At the bottom of the protected ravine there is a bubbling stream that flows over several small waterfalls.  Keep walking along the ravine and suddenly Lake Superior spreads out in front of you.

This hike we started commenting to each other, “What’s going on here? Why are all these trees broken? Was there a derecho this summer? There are broken trees in the ravine but not very much water. The little waterfalls are nearly kaput. There is some stagnant water over there.”

This is what I looked like a year ago:

This is what it looked like last week:

This is what it looked like this year. Global climate change is everywhere. 

...

We had a lovely trip. We avoided contracting Delta Covid by eating meals in our car instead of in restaurants.  We saw old and new places and one was very different due to a long drought and a fast storm.

here are a few more photos.

 

 

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Comments

Leonard's picture

Keeps you from seeing things the same way, time after time. It was good to see how Houghton Falls had changed, and it was also good to see how we had changed (a little more stiff and sore going up stairs) since the last time we were there. And, finally, good to see if we were still a little bit changed when we pulled back into our own garage.

Loved all the pictures. Your vacation sounds relaxing and serene. I always admire you both. All the hiking you do ! Healthy living!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks! Hah, we did all that hiking and then came home and slept...

Thank you!!!!
Mary Beth's picture

Anonymous, I missed you! Thank you...

You wild and crazy woman!! That's what you get for reading so dangerously.
Mary Beth's picture

Made me laugh out loud.. thanks!

I love it - a reading injury!!

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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