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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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

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.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 

...

MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 

 

Almost. Two Years Later

1/6/2023 

 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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