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Words and Water

September 3, 2023

Not enough and too much. Water. As I write this central Minnesota is in drought and Burning Man in the Nevada (?) desert is flooding out. The busiest weekend for harvesting wild rice is being sucked dry due to temperatures in the 90’s. Nearly impossible to rice in a heat that is even more stifling in a tall, dense stand of wild rice. Picture yourself going into a field of tall grass prairie, sitting down under a brutal sun and then swing your arms about for fifteen minutes straight. You might get a feel for what it is like to harvest wild rice in 92 degree heat. Something I had never done until yesterday. Can’t say I will ever do it again. I find myself when I’m in the rice. Or maybe a better way to say it is I slow down long enough to notice me. Sitting in a canoe, or in a kayak the immediacy of being on water and not on solid ground focuses your attention on what is immediately around you and what your body is doing. Not that getting wet is all that big of a deal, but trying to get back into a boat…

Blue jewels

July 10, 2023

Blue jewels the color of deep dusk hang scattered in the green foliage at my feet. Jewels of juice, filled with the refreshment of last night’s rain. Berries, oh heaven, an abundance of blueberries. I stand at the edge of the wood, back to the road, and look deep into the forest. An overburden of oak scattered and young give shade to the ground. Occasional stumps stick up out of the green, gray worn wood, splintered. Tangled dead branches lie in repose, guarded by waist high raspberry shoots. Dots of cherry red drip on stems here and there, enticing. I am more focused on blue. I choose my path to follow the low green.  A carpet of green so thick that I must watch each step, holding my feet for a second or two while my eyes scan the landing zone, berries or no berries? Some berries are hidden under the branches of green. I toe my way into thickets, like walking among landmines and not wanting to set any off. Although here the loss is not of limbs, but of ripe, bulging blueberries. They grow wild everywhere. Crouching at an explosion of blue I snag my hat on an…

Sedge wren, sora rail and mosquitos

June 19, 2023

June equals mosquitos in the north country. With the expanse of Upper Red Lake just outside the camper door I’ve killed more mosquitos than I’ve typed words to start this piece. Our first excursion in our 19-foot trailer, and I’ve already added a fan to the list of must haves when traveling where water and blood thirsty mosquitos reside. Why am I not on the water with my husband, presumably mosquito free in his boat? My body needs some rest and rehab. I am thankful for the years my bones have given me. Sometimes, due to former injuries and too much time sitting, a bolt of lightning to my lower back reminds me of what my body has sustained. I slow down. A lot. And then I begin the process of walking, resting, walking some more, and in this case swatting mosquitos. (I’ve killed six while typing this paragraph). Later I will go for a slow cruise in the boat. Slowing down has benefits. Having heard a sora rail when we arrived yesterday, and again this morning, I went in search of sora rail habitat. If you have never heard a sora rail, google it. The sliding whinny is unmistakable.…

Paying Attention

November 11, 2022

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Walking in a winter wonderland Snowfall is always expected in the northland. When winter white will arrive is the unknown. Last night, two nights past the full moon, I went to bed as the ground outside began to take on her cloak of white. White is the collection of all color. White brings forth the bold patterns in the woods, marking branches, needles, tree trunks and frozen rosehips still on the stem. I forget each year how much I enjoy the gift of snow, the gift of seeing the woods around me in a different way. Stepping outside with Bandit, our seven year old hunting dog, we begin a walk around the yard. Looking up at snow frosted needles, I see what was hidden in plain sight most of the summer. Every red pine tree shows it’s age by the staggered stems, pruned close to the trunk by age and lack of sunlight, now capped by a skiff of white. Starting near the ground I can count the age of the tree by simply counting snow spots all the way up the trunk. I easily reach 35, 37, 41 before I stop counting tree ages. I’m getting dizzy. The red…


October 10, 2022

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A kaleidoscope of lilac colored asters, sunlight scented grasses, burgundy sumac and holding the sky, an embrace of pines. This ever changing palette of colors form the backdrop of fall in northern Minnesota. I’m insatiable with this change of season. My eyes are overwhelmed by the hues, the daily shift in patterns and tone, the rich embodiment of earth in the scented air. I can walk each day down the same physical path, only to be met with a different look each and every travel. Frustrated with work? Upset with your spouse? Tired of zoom meetings? Step outside and find your connection. “Filling the well” is more than a saying for me. After a day of meetings, scheduling more into the future, and feeling disconnected from life – this one act of stepping away from the electronics, the screens and the phones, brings me back to earth again. Grounded. Yet I forget almost every day that this simple act, of putting on shoes, or a jacket, and stepping outside – no matter if I’m in the city working or at home surrounded by forest, is all it takes to set me right again. Perhaps I need a sign over my…

Finding Our Voices

August 26, 2022

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Write with me on Sunday afternoon! I’ll be hosting a community writing session online. Read more through this linkhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/403247382777…

So you want to harvest wild rice?

August 25, 2022

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Apologies for length… First step, know what you are looking for. Meet the plant, up close and personal if possible. Start with your phone and Google if needed. Recognize her like a long-lost friend. Find someone who already has a relationship with her. Ask them to introduce you. Be cognizant of all her moods. Check on her often throughout the growing season. Say sweet things to her. Stay out of her beds while she’s growing. Watch Fred Ackley share his words on Manoomin. Clear your schedule from mid-August through mid-September. Full weeks if possible, whole weekends if not. Stock up on acetaminophen and ibuprofen or CBD oil. Explain to anyone who wants some of your time during that stretch that you will be otherwise occupied. Find some old clothes. You will understand once you get to #12. Get your hands on a canoe legally, borrow, beg or buy. Look for something with removable cross pieces, aluminum is good, fiberglass is heavy. Some of the old ricing boats are still around, you will recognize them by their lack of seats, no cross bars, and often a flattened platform to push from. Check for leaks. No boat license required if only using…


July 21, 2022

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 (I’m sharing a few of my earlier writings to give you a sense of where I am now. This one was written nearly eight years ago…and I’m still on the journey of finishing a book I started in 2014. I also like that I’m writing about fall here, as the temps today are closer to 100!) So many days between when I last wrote and today. Just returned from a trekking hike in the state park with my friend Rebecca – relief that lowered my shoulders, and the tenseness they held, by at least two inches. So much that hides in those shoulders under responsibility, under the idea that I want to do something good, even great – yet continually feel like I’m walking three directions except for towards my goals. Even typing those words causes the muscle striations to tense just a bit more. Autumn briskness is in the air, having had two frosts this week, one deep enough to turn the leaves of the squash plants black and leave them hanging like old crepe paper left over from a party. The air was crisp, slivers of blue showing through the gray and white clouds,…


July 20, 2022

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Nov. 13, 2016(another post from earlier years…so many of my posts start from walks in the woods) A bright November morning called me into the woods. Soon enough the hours that are free for walking will be consumed by darkness. Winters are dark in the north country. Not that it isn’t beautiful and just as refreshing to walk after sun down, but it can be bitter cold. Now is the shoulder season. Not yet winter, no longer fall. The trees have given up their leaves for the moment. At least the deciduous ones. Green remains among branched twigs, highlighted against the blue sky. Periwinkle blue today. There are so many nuances of blue that I find it a challenge to describe them with words. But todays blue is closest to periwinkle. Heading into the forest I can hear a train whistle. The wind, strong here on the edge of the clear cut is brisk, and from the south. South winds bring the sound of trains. Once I have passed the clear cut I no longer feel the wind. Down here amongst the aspen, pine, birch and oak only quiet remains. This morning my walk brings me by the beaver pond,…


 Welcome, Aaniin, Sat Nam

I celebrate life and share my passion for learning, rooted in the natural world….

Empowering women through creativity, community, and nature-based experiences.