How to begin again…


On the brink of being alone again…girls grown, Gil often working. How do I resurrect…embrace…the solitary girl who, secluded by miles and moves, played alone and wrote stories for herself? It’s not that I don’t enjoy the odd moment of silence…but it can be so quiet now, and with no one to talk to, I don’t even hear my own voice. It’s almost like I’m not here either.

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The One Thing I Guess I Never Told You


A message to my daughters:

All these years…I thought you understood, what I wanted you to understand. I was no martyr, making mistakes so I could later pass them on as some armor against your own. I’m no one’s savior. So many times I couldn’t even save myself.

As a young girl, I made my mistakes with no one to tell. Can’t tell your parents…they’d didn’t make these mistakes when they were young. Don’t talk to your grandparents, it’ll upset them. As for friends…there were none that lasted through the years. I’d moved too often to ever learn the knack of making lifelong friends. With no one to talk to, I had to become my own friend. I wrote in my journals every day, determined that someday my children would know that I knew what it was like to be young and unsure…to feel desire, and doubt, and anger, and shame…that I understood them and that they could talk to me.

It was in a fit of fear (and shame) that I didn’t hold on to the very record I’d always meant to share. I pulled them from their hiding place in the floor of my room (have I ever shown you?) and burned them all…7 notebooks full…in the burn barrel that sat in the grove across from my parents house. And since then, I’ve never relearned the habit.

As you grew, I always regreted that act. I tried to make up for it by sharing what I remembered about my own struggle to make sense of who I was and who I wanted to be. Alot of people told me it was a mistake to so frankly share my past with my girls…that it would imply permission and even encouragement that they make some of these same mistakes. I didn’t much care what those people thought of my honesty, I just knew that my girls would know that I had been a real person with real feelings and that I understood theirs. I wanted my children to know that they could trust me with their problems and their hearts.

How sad it makes me now, knowing that with all I told you that somehow you didn’t hear the message of WHY I told you. “I didn’t want to disappoint you that I didn’t learn from your mistakes,” you’ve told me. But it wasn’t that I didn’t expect you to make mistakes. Heaven knows, I’ve continued all my own life to make them.

I guess I never told you that what I wanted was for you to trust me…trust me WITH your mistakes.

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Beautiful Time Lapse Photography


The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

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Wisconsin Protests!


Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

Be sure to click on part 2…all very inspiring!

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On Austerity…Well Said!


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I Do Not Want to Fight


Politics, while technically defining systems of state governance adhered to by a given community, more often expresses itself as a person’s belief in a given system–whether that is adherence to one nation’s ideals, or to certain disputed opinions within that country.  Religion, likewise, is an expression of  belief.  In religion, individuals adhere to a set of beliefs that define the nature of universal existence, rather than existence within a community. Too often, however, it expresses itself as the right to personal existence, with disregard to the rights of others.

Both politics and religion can be used to present beautiful expressions of an ideal. They can also be used to justify the demonstration of very ugly behaviors in the pursuit of those ideals.  The ideals (platforms, catechisms, creeds) rarely project hate. Behaviors too often do.  People, in the name of politics or of religion, stand upon their hate to cushion them from their foundational ideals.  They build pathways on which to stand that circumvent the more difficult terrain of political craft or religious inquiry. The build houses in which to reside, separated from those who do not share their beliefs.  In this way, they navigate quickly and easily THROUGH through the philosophies they claim to embrace, failing to engage in the one thing philosophies need to flourish–dialogue. They REST only in places where they can avoid others who think differently.

What passes for debate in the political and religious forums of today lacks the back and forth EXCHANGE of ideas that characterize dialogue.  Exchange suggests an amiable giving and taking of ideas for the purpose of compromise, settlement, even agreement. What we see to often, these days, is a volley of ideas, hurled at one another.  The thoughts and beliefs of the opponent hit us in the face, splatter against our own beliefs in an attempt to destroy or obscure.  We are left defending ourselves, huddled down with arms wrapped protectively around our minds.

Conservative or Liberal, politicians who refuse to listen to the “other” side, who display only distain for the heartfelt beliefs or the thoughtfully constructed ideas of their opponents are not statesmen at all.  Fundamentalist or Liturgical, religious adherents who fail to love those who follow a different path, or stand at a different point in their spiritual journey are not religious at all.  These people are warrior-combatants, mercenaries who live for the fight.  And I want them to know:

I am an American.  I believe in the ideal of democracy.  That ideal, in it’s profession that all members of the community have an equal voice and equal rights, is not an easy or quickly navigated space.  I want to listen to and consider ideas that are not my own.  I want to look for common ground where we can discuss more comfortably those regions in which we disagree.  I do not want to fight.  I want to talk.

I am an ecumenical  Christian.  I believe in the ideal of forgiveness.  That ideal, it it’s profession of God’s love for all people, is not a sparse nor homogenous place.  I want to meet and listen to others who understand God in a different way.  I want to look for common space where we can more easily embrace and discuss our differences.  I do not want to fight.  I want to pray together.

Please don’t hurl your ideas at me, lest I defend myself.  Instead, offer them to me and I will nurture them.   Please don’t attack other people, lest I defend them. Offer them your hand and I will help you draw them closer to you.

Remove the hate from beneath your feet and feel the uneven ground that we all walk together.

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Backing Up Time


The girls took off with their cousins to explore on their own today. Generally game to wander with me, they sometimes find themselves at a different point in the journey…and they take different roads. Gil and I are alone to pretend we’re young again.

We started off exploring the cemetery. As many times as we’ve been here, we never managed to make it past the few familiar family plots outside of the post cemetery. It was nice to make new disciveries. After a time in the Protestant side talking to an older summer resident who remembered Gil as a kid, we worked our way across the Catholic side, reading older stones. Ignace Pelott and family are buried just 85 feet to the southeast of where Gil’s mom’s immediate family lay. In that plot is the grave of Dianne’s grandmother, Sophie. Just this morning Kathleen had mentioned that she hadn’t been able to connect the Cadotte and Basinau lines, despite rumors that we were related twice over. She has made a connection to Lapines. There at the Pelott site is the Lapine connection to Fishers.

We’ve mostly piddled (or more accurately, peddled) around the rest of the afternoon. I always like the backroads and beaches best.

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Past the First Day


Spent most of the day riding around the island with Lolly, Keni, and cousins. The first time you visit the island (or maybe even the first time you visit after a long absence) it’s always interesting to do the superficial tour…a run through of fort and fudge, alongside the horses and the hoards of others here for the day.

Yet having a deeper connection…family who have lived here through generations, year-round, I’ve heard too many stories of the off-season, when quiet settles in, to be satisfied with the surface…the artificial attractions…the fancy facade that veils the naked beauty, the centeredness of this place. To find that, you have to look deeper, get away from the crowds. Travel along the island’s shores and listen to the crashing waves from the west. Reach up into the interior, along forest paths and feel the souls of those who walked here 400 years before.

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Lighthouse Beckoning


Headed to the island for the first time this summer. We’ll stop at Manistique. It’s become a north trek tradition. I’m not sure how much the girls appreciate this stop when they are so anxious to get to the island, but these small stops lay a foundation for the wanderer. Familiarity resides in the vision and sound. A sandy beach…cold, rolling waves…breaking water as it strikes the wall leading out to the lighthouse, rising red out of grey and blue waters. Today we’ll take pictures of Keni–the first of her senior pictures. I have pictures of her climbing the lighthouse stairs over the years. It’s hard to imagine that in just one year she’ll be off to college and I’ll wander more often alone than not.

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Wandering Daughter


When Josie first introduced me to this song, it spoke to my soul…and to the relationship I have with my daughters. I haven’t managed to give my girls a home to come back to, wanderer that I am. Born and married into the military lifestyle, I’ve lived in 17 places (and even more houses). For years, I wanted a place to call home…where people become fixtures in your life rather than memories. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really come to terms with who I am. And while my children may sometimes yearn for that place to come home to, I like to believe that I have given them a heart to come home to. The song goes like this:

I am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
wrestle the pestle for the sake of the mortar
i love as i breathe and leave as i live
my cast iron shield’s a titanium sieve

and a castle that’s built on confusion and doubt
is a nickel within and a dollar without
just when the shoes seem so big i can’t win
i fill my own sneakers and take off again

i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
take all my pain and i mix it with water
it’s sunny it’s sweet and i don’t purple stuff it
one day by the way i met little miss muffet

i blew my mind with the stuff that i taught her
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
i said if a spider should sit down beside you
tell him your name and then tell him the truth

a great hairy spider appeared there and then
and the holes in my soul started letting in wind
i felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter

she said i’m miss muffet i’m very afraid
but something inside me is making me stay
i know deep down that if i run away
i’ll just meet more spiders and still feel the same

the spider he smiled and said how is this true
when i am so terribly smaller than you?
my web it just went in the way the wind blew
what i was in for i hadn’t a clue

he touched her face gently with six of his legs
and licked from her chin a speck of curds and whey
when i was certain they’d both be okay
i tightened my laces and i walked away

as i walked away i was feeling excluded
wishing my impulses weren’t diluted
the muscle i hustle is real for my friends
but the muscle i keep for myself is pretend

i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
travel the land and i live like a martyr
the things that i do aren’t the things that i teach
if i spend my time practicing when will i preach?

i do what i must as you do what you oughta
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
take all my pain and mix it with water
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter

i’m lost and alone and i’m fair and i’m free
you am what you is and i are who i be
what i’m lacking in strength i make up for in smarts
you keep your stability i’ll keep my heart

fear finds october emotions are juices
beat around bushes and make up excuses
go out for ceruleans come home with chartreuses
snip and cut bonsais and turn them to spruces

miss muffet called me and she said don’t cry
real friends are friends until after they die
still i romanticize all this disorder
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
hop the next bus and run for the border
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter
give you my life if you give me a quarter
i am the wanderer’s wandering daughter

so long it’s been good to know ya
so long it’s been good to know ya
so long it’s been good to know ya
i’ve got to be moving along

~ Kimya Dawson

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