Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blueberry Abundance

My friend Ingrid visited a few days ago, for a little less than 24 hours.  I'll bet she picked blueberries for 8 of those hours.   Whoa, did she ever find an abundance of blueberries.

She's always had a harvesting talent.  One summer before we had kids she took me to her secret patch in the Chequamegon National really it was my turn to show her some of our secret spots.  Honestly though.... on the Gunflint Trail beyond us...the abundance goes on for as far as you can see.  And then some.  The staff have their own secret spots, and come back with blueberry loads for muffins and pancakes, and cookies, and cakes.

I divvy up my summer hours a little differently than Ingrid does........I take my vacations in little doses.  After the office closed the other night, I went out with her for a couple hours.  Which means Ingrid picked steadily for two hours, and I picked for one, and then I sat on a rock near her and chatted for the last hour.  I take my breaks in doses too.

She sticks her nose in the blueberry patch, and there she stays.  As she was walking in with her bucket early the next morning, she passed two friendly people and she asked how it was going.  They shrugged with their empty buckets and were heading back to the car. "It's all picked out."   Ingrid smiled........and came out 4 gallons later.   Hint:  6 years ago, acres and acres and acres were perfectly primed for blueberries.  If you want some of the abundance, you can trust that it is out there, you just might have to keep walking.

I've decided that a great life trick is to figure out what is abundant in the current season, find it, and bury yourself in that particular patch..If you can't find it, you can trust that it's out there, you just might have to keep walking.

I can remember in mid July, my grandpa used to eat raspberries all day long.  Sweet corn=same thing.  I remember asking him if he was tired of eating corn.  Really, he had a  simple sustainable slant: When the corn's ripe, a guy eats the corn.  He had those progressive practices well before writers like Barbara Kinsolver and Michael Polen were writing about alternative food movements.  He could carry on a good conversation with most anybody, but somehow, I think if those writers would have run into him on the Greyhound bus between Milwaukee and Minneapolis those years ago, they might have been a tad bit turned off by the great big  Nixon and Reagan stickers he posted all over his suitcase. If they had met him, and been inclined to chat, they would definitely given him the thumbs up on this particular eating practice.

 I can still remember the look on his face, sitting at the kitchen table in the morning, eating a big bowl of raspberries still warm from the patch, doused in cream.  Without a doubt, he was living a life of abundance--he was on to that trick!  He was completely satisfied, and relishing his moment.

On the Gunflint Trail, it's our season for sun, for visitors, for blueberries.  I hope I have learned something from my grandpa.  I hope that sometimes my face reflects that same look of richness, of satisfaction, of appreciation for whatever happens to be in current abundance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hit the Reset


The other day the fax machine quit working.  So I found the manual, and stood on the desk to reach the shelf and started paging through, skimming the directions and pushing buttons.   I was talking to a friend of mine about fixing those electronic things.  Really--I didn't fix anything.  It occurred to us that in the end, most things just need to be turned off, and rest for a minute, and then they magically reset.   And so it was with the fax machine

Last week was a little hot here at Tuscarora.  Once it gets into the upper 80''s hard to keep the zest for working.   So about every two hours, it was time to hit the reset---we call them "safety swims" but really--they're a fabulous fix for morale and productivity....and just to remind us that life is fun.  It's amazing how a lake can do that for people.  And you can bet, every two hours, we're grateful for the cool waters of Round Lake.

I'm convinced that the reset button improves creativity too.   One afternoon after work, the staff took up dock bowling.   Jenny (Jen-ay)  was the pin and ball retriever....the water is mighty comfortable, a person can float  for a long time..

Lucky for us in Minnesota, we're not experiencing the drought so familiar to some of our southern guests.  Cross River is up--and last Saturday my nephew Tom and I hit the reset---and we tubed down the river from the bridge on the Gunflint trail to the bridge entering Gunflint Lake.  It's rare for me to get such an uninterrupted 2 hours with this kid these days..well, he WAS a kid about 10 minutes ago, ....The adventure was mostly a gentle float, but there were a few rapids thrown in just to keep us awake....yikes!

Tommy is on reset from medical school this month....but our lazy river sleepy discussions seemed to wander between woods and life and relationships and his classes.  He has sort of an interesting perspective on the ways that the earth systems all mirror internal life systems.  As in....the narrow rapids were fast moving arteries, and the lazy parts were the capillaries of the Cross River.   The entire universe is a  human anatomy metaphor or would that be the other way around? 

All I know is, on a day when the water is the same comfortable temperature as the air, it is a great thing to just lay my head back on the tube and close my eyes half way, and hit the reset button.