Mary Beth Writes

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

Wilderness gear catalogs started appearing in our house and this kid, with his own money, started occasionally buying expensive high-tech gear. I think he still has some of it.

Then he wanted a kayak. Oh boy. He lobbied Len to drive him to Madison’s Canoecopia which is a huge paddle-sports show in March. They went. Now they were both talking canoes and kayaks. Canoecopia  

We bought an inexpensive canoe and that’s when Racine’s Root River became our local Alaska. Sitting here now, I see the bends and turns in that river. The wide sandbar where geese hung out. Herons stalking fish along the riverbank. Turtles sunbathing on logs. Flag iris and cattails. The splash of otters if one was very lucky. Sigh. I miss it. I’ll link a newspaper column I wrote back then, at the bottom of this.

Our kid saved his money until he had enough, and then he bought a Wilderness systems 17’ touring kayak. I’ll link that column, too. That kayak is in our garage right now.

We were already friends with M and D because the four of us are readers, eaters, and talkers. But the thing is, they also were and still are wilderness-comfy humans. So sometimes they took their boys and my boy on adventurous camping and river trips. One summer our two families paddled five days down the Green River in Utah. When they were still in high school, their son and ours joined a wilderness class in the Teton Mountains.  (NOLS offers wonderful, and pricey, adventures.)

A year ago when our family gave Christmas present lists to each other our daughter texted all of us, “We say our family is unathletic readers and cooks – but look at this list!” Gym clothes, hiking equipment, bike accessories, weights.

It’s powerful what can happen when a kid starts dreaming and no one shuts him down. It’s powerful what happens when we want a good thing and we go towards it, and we somehow bring others along on our quest.

Click here to read Seventeen Minutes of Joy 

Click here to read Dark River 

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Love this ———
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks!

The videos make my heart swell! https://www.npr.org/2023/01/24/1150594286/alaska-puppy-bus-viral
Mary Beth's picture

These are wonderful!!!

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What Now, US Constitution?

7/2/2024

Not sure if I wrote this post for you or for me.

I was close to the end of my volunteer shift at the Food Pantry yesterday. The morning had been tougher than usual (see the upended boxes we didn’t have time to flatten) and I was tired. Then I got this text from Len, “Don’t look at the news.”

I’ve never received anything this cryptic from Len in my life. I told my co-worker Nancy I needed to look at the news because something weird was going on.

She replied, “The Supreme Court.”

Hot Weather Diary #4

6/26/2024

Guess what amazing thing is happening at my house right now? This has not happened in, I think, two weeks…

OUR WINDOWS ARE OPEN!

Yesterday evening the heat index was 100 degrees. Tonight the temperature is 70, low humidity, breezes wafting in the windows like angels’ breath.

Hot Weather Diary #3

6/19/2024

Today was another hot one and right now, it’s still 93 degrees in my backyard.

Hot Weather Diary #2

6/18/2024

“Time wasted at a lake is time well spent.”  (I tried to learn who wrote this; it seems to have arisen spontaneously on a Pinterest plaque for your cabin.)

There is an argument that civilization started on the banks of rivers, the oceans, and along the shores of the hundreds and thousands of lakes on our earth. Waterfront is where people and animals gather to drink, eat, cool off, and watch the youngsters while they play. Also, it’s where adults gather to chat, fish, breathe in beauty, and sometimes swim far out there where joints don’t ache and its quiet.

Hot Weather Diary #1

6/17/2024

We all knew it was coming and here it is. A Hot Week! We are in the news! We are important! Humans around the nation, especially in the East and Midwest, will be living through a week with temps in the 80’s, 90’s and worse.

What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 

6/15/2024

Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

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