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Resurgent Perspective

 
I knew I was in trouble when my own dad called me by my last name. Along with being my father, he doubled as my baseball coach. I had just made a disastrous baserunning decision and was thrown out at third, ending not just the game, but the season. I had squelched my team’s chance at our Little League championship. Tail between my legs, I sat down in the dugout beside my teammates as Dad expounded on my oversight for all of us to unmistakably hear. He gave a damn about my progress as a ballplayer.

North of Minnesota Nice

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A carload of conniving faces made several slow passes up and down our block a few summers ago. They appeared transfixed on something in our neighbor’s yard across the street when our neighbor wasn’t home. Eventually, they crept to a stop, car doors opened and the pack stepped into broad daylight. The Georgia plates on the bumper belied the lone female passenger who spoke with the British accent.

Voices of the Process

When asked about how he writes songs, Tom Petty said he didn’t really know. He described it as a very real magic that he has to wait for if he’s lucky enough for it to happen. True to his humor and semantic dexterity, he explained it by comparison.
 
“It’s kind of like an orgasm,” he said. “You don’t know how you did that.”
 
Not knowing how or why something happened is the core of magic. It tickles the inexplicable, but it’s no less real. For me, writing is more than putting words, sentences and paragraphs on a page.

The Evolution of Priorities

 
My first car was a low-riding, muffler-dragging behemoth tailormade for my grandfather.  The 1972 Chevy Caprice—the largest sedan Chevy had ever manufactured—was just what he ordered.  When he decided to hang up his keys, it became mine for the taking.  I painted it primer grey and named it the Land Shark.
 
Having developed my highway skills inside a snug Volkswagen Beetle, the Land Shark was a different beast.

Airwave Illusions

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Gathered in groups on the gravel track at the foot of the stage, feverishly anticipating the Big-Name Band, someone from this cluster of high school girls needs to get a message to someone from that cluster of high school guys. But the right icebreaker just isn’t coming to mind.
 
This is a show for the ages.

Cooking Up Fish Tales

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Four-foot waves hurled the defenseless canoes about like empty Styrofoam coolers. Torrential rain erased the paddlers from each other’s sight.

The Scariest Thing in the Forest

 
Renowned fairy tales recently played into a trip my wife, husky and I made to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Our Yellow Brick Road to the entry point was mostly gravel. It was also devoid of lions and tigers, but bears were evident. Dollops of bear scat traversed the road, even on the paved parts. So, in a Hansel and Gretel sort of way, we followed the droppings through the twisting forest trail to our destination.
 
Wilderness is the very definition of social distance. In these pandemic times, wilderness might be one of the safest places to reside.

Pandemic Patronus

 
Out of nowhere, my wife asked me how comfortable I’d feel with cutting her hair. I thought, “Well jeez, I’ve field dressed deer. So yeah, I suppose.”
 
COVID-19 has generated upheaval in everyone’s lives. By comparison to dealing with the virus, trips to the salon just aren’t high on our priority list. We shouldn’t be going anywhere to show off our hairstyles anyway.
 
In no uncertain terms do I soft-sell the pandemic. It demands to be respected and treated with utmost physical care and responsibility toward others.

Backroad Grace

 
A few gravel roads in the Minnesota Arrowhead end at the edge of the wilderness. Motorized travel simply stops. Magical places worth savoring appear. And the journey to them is an education in backroad grace.
 
One of the roads I use often is a former railroad from the logging heyday. It’s not much wider than a single lane to begin with, but it narrows even more in some parts. A grandmother pine shoulders one side and a greenstone boulder bottlenecks the thoroughfare on the other.

The Soul of Place

 
One can revisit the past quite pleasantly, as long as one does so expecting nearly every aspect of it to have changed.
Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov
A Gentleman in Moscow
 
I’ve had a nightmare every so often for a couple of decades. In it, the woodland surrounding our family cabin is ravaged by social development and becomes the poster child for urban sprawl. The nightmares started when my parents still owned the cabin. When they passed, I became owner for a short time, but now it’s no longer ours.
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