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Nature

The Day’s Delight: Sugars

I could say that the most stunning, heart-opening, phenomenal thing I witnessed today was grove after grove of impossibly massive redwoods. Or even the fantastical two-storey tree house at It’s A Burl Art Gallery. And, yes, those all made me stare and grin like a happy fool, and I highly recommend them. But the image that lingers longest when I look back at the day is this:

Two people, who have loved each other for what must be nearly forty years, who still feel it and show it. The way they held hands among the ancient trees, the way he looked at her, the awareness each had of the other’s weaknesses, and the gentle space they still held for those very human tics rather than becoming dull and deadened (or stingy and sharp)– that was the miracle. That was the thing worth making this western pilgrimage for: magic that doesn’t diminish, that deepens, the way, perhaps, a community of trees will feed and support and, to make a bold assertion, love a stump and continue to keep the connections open and pulsing with nourishing sugars– not out of denial or desperation, but a true devotion.

It’s not a perfect analogy at all– it would fit more obviously with a caretaking sort of situation, but there’s a kindness I feel in it, and so much comfort in how not human it is, in how love, whether between trees or people, never actually has to be something anyone, including those involved, can explain.

Goofy reverence in the redwoods

Lake Superior Selkies

Last winter I saw a photo of these two fabulous ladies swimming in Superior… in January. I said, “I need a wetsuit!,” and next thing you know, one showed up at my house!

This was a magical swim– an hour (an hour!!) in the big lake.

We hailed he passengers on the Hjørdis as she sailed into the East Bay.

We swam through a passage between the rocks.

We sat mermaid-like on the reef just beyond Artist’s Point.

It was magical to be at eye-level with the lake, especially on a day when the water was a glassy, platinum blue and the sky reached down like a bowl, as if the edge of the world we’re just Over There and if we were bold enough, we could swim to it, and beyond.

Slug Conversations

We’ve got friends up in Hovland (further up Highway 61). They live in a dovetail log cabin they built themselves, from trees they cut on their property.

Going up to visit them often reminds me of when we lived at Wilderness Canoe Base: a tiny cabin (for a year with no plumbing) on a lake, an hour out of town, way out of cell phone range.

The thing that strikes me is the quiet. Even though Grand Marais isn’t a bustling, noisy city by any means, it’s not truly quiet the way the woods are.

I went for a walk through their property and came across these two slugs in quiet conversation. Perhaps they need a story written about them… Let me know if you do.