Friday, June 10, 2011

Finding a new waterfall

Last week some friends told us about a waterfall they'd wanted to visit. I had heard about this waterfall, or actually seen it at the Art Colony show: Biophilia--Sacred and Inner Outer Landscapes. One painter had mentioned a waterfall just off the Arrowhead. "I wonder where that it?" I thought.

When some friends told me someone had mentioned a waterfall they'd never heard of, we went looking....we figured out where it might be and started fighting our way through undergrowth near a one point we could actually hear a waterfall, but couldn't see how to get to it.

Just when we had given up, gone back to the car and started to go we saw a faint trail going into some woods. We re-parked and followed the trail and there we found it.

What an amazing thing to live somewhere where you might meet a new many places I've lived a waterfall would be crawling with people.

Come to WindCradle and I'll take you to the falls!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

watery spring

Water everywhere. Lake Superior doesn't really freeze very often, and so we see her moving all winter....some fabulous storms and then calm days.

Then the rivers taking all the snow melt and bringing it down to Mother Superior. Here's the falls on the Brule and above a beach near where the river comes into the big lake.

And so it's time to put away snowshoes and get out hiking boots, put away cross country skis and get out our canoes. This picture is from our last snowshoe on the Crow Creek near our house...that day you could hear the river bubbling and roaring under our feet.

It's an amazing privilege to live so near water like this...the light seems to be everywhere. Watch the world come alive!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent in the Northland

Advent is meant to be a time of watching and waiting, and in the northland, it is.

The stillness of a frozen lake or a ski trail through the woods permeates our lives. Can you sense the deep silence of Clearwater Lake?

Snow muffles sound, but also this time of year feels like one in which all of nature is hunkering down, pulling into its roots.

Cross country skiing, snow showing, hiking--these are all meditative sports--one foot in front of the other--deepening life.

We see beautiful sunrises over the big lake (and the sun comes up so late you don't need to worry about sleeping through them!) Watching day come in reds and pinks...

Town is very problem getting parking places...or with the hype of a city before Christmas.

My daughter said to me yesterday that she was going to the Mall of America...and I found myself thinking...there could hardly be anything further from what we live in Advent in Grand Marais, than a mall before Christmas.

On this, the longest night of the year, the sun sets early and gives us another lovely painting of blood red good-byes, and the welcome of a deep, starry night.

I'm ready for Christ to be born anew this year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

First lovely snowfall...

The big storms of the season have been bringing us big waves and precipitation. Near the big lake where it's warmer, we often get rain, when up the hill and inland they have snow.

On Thanksgiving Eve, we had wind and real blizzard like conditions coming out of our church service up at Maple Hill. We could hardly see the road coming down the Gunflint Trail.....

And then near the big lake, it was rain.

Still, we can go up the hill for snow. Great snowshoeing on Thanksgiving, skiing, the day after and snowshoeing again the next day.

It's amazing to live in a place where seasons are so different and it's almost always possible to get out and be in the beautiful woods.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have so much to be thankful for this year! Our little Episcopal church--Spirit of the Wilderness has been growing in a most wonderful way! We are not officially part of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. What a privilege to help guide this wonderful group! Here we at the little church where we meet at Maple Hill Cemetary.

I am constantly thankful for the opporunity to live near such beauty!.. Lake Superior is always changing--sometimes smooth as glass, sometimes crashing and roaring. This is the beach in front of WindCradle, looking west.

I'm thankful too for great memories from
Mother/Daughter trips last summer. What a
wonderful opportunity to taket people into the
BWCAW. In this picture, Stella and Mallory are learning to paddle on Missing Link Lake.
But of course the best gift is little Esme, my wonderful grand-daughter who has been living in Grand Marais (with her mother and father, of course.) I count it such a gift to be watching her grow, taking her paddling, teaching her to bake, allowing her to rescue me from frequent shark infestations in our living room (!).
Indeed I have much to be thankful for.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Learning from the animals...

"Is that a rock?" A first time Boundary Waters visitor pointed her paddle. "Or a moose?"
"A rock..." I squinted. "No it's moving. A moose!" We paddled closer as the large female buried her head in the lake, bringing up a mouthful of weeds. She looked at us and put her head under water again.
"Listen!" another paddler whispered. "There's another..." We listened to twigs breaking in the woods nearby. "Must be her little one," I said. "We should stay back; mother moose are very protective." For half an hour we watched the cow making a fine feast of the water plants, occasionally glancing at us. Several times she looked toward the woods where we could still hear her baby. Our canoe slowly drifted toward the trees where we could hear the little one. Suddenly the mother moose looked at us with alarm and clambered out the water into the woods.

That's when we heard the sound. It was a call like no other I'd ever heard--a cross between a moo, a trumpet and a groan. Her appeal to her little one carried all the longing and love in a mother's heart. Her desire--no, her desperation--to protect her baby echoed over the lake and shook us. We looked at each other as she called again, louder, more insistent: "where are you?"
As the mother moose called again, we heard twigs snapping from her baby moving toward her. We saw their profiled noses touch before they headed away from the lake, deeper into the woods.
That mama moose's cry resonated in me as I slept in my tent that night. Even now I can hear it. Longing, love, desire to protect--why did her voice haunt me?
And then I realized: that moose was voicing the longing that echoes through the universe. Her love is the warp on which our lives are woven. The cry, "Where are you my love?" Is the sound we desire and fear, year in, year out. Sometimes we try to dull our hearing with busy-ness, noise, consumerism. Or we're tempted by substitutes--movies make big bucks offering us cheap "happy ending" versions of love; glossy magazines promise us that this make up, that diet, this exercise program--will somehow make us worthy of that kind of love. But of course neither the "happily ever after version"offered by the movies nor all the make-overs in the world can prepare us for the intensity and strength of the love we heard in that moose's cry.
That cry is the call of the divine--"Where are you? I love you." We may "hear" it in many different places--the laughter of a grandchild, a sense of being "held" when life is tough, an encounter with a work of art, voices joined in songs of praise, the loving lean of a great dog, an amazing sunrise, or the joy of serving someone who is helpless.
The time I heard that call most clearly was in a pre-surgical ICU room. I was with a man and his wife who had been hurt by relgion and not gone to church for forty years. After we talked I asked If I could pray with them. He said, "How could I, when I've rejected God all these years? Just because I might die..." As we prayed, the sense of God's presence in that room was palpable: "Where are you? I love you," like the moose call. All three of us wept.
The cry we heard on Deer Lake is the voice of God. What I heard was an epiphany, a miracle, a heart to heart encounter. In all my expreince, it is this kind of connection that may change and touch us. After all Christian faith is not about God sending a proposition, a list of commands, or even a book our way; it is about an encounter with a person. No one I've ever know was converted through arguments. But I know many people who would say they've heard--somehow, somewhere--that voice of love, and that it still rings throught their lives.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What you can learn from a two year old.

1. Go paddling even if it's not the best of days... On Saturday
it was pretty foggy and cool but out we went on a moose hunt with little Esme saying, "Here Moosey, Moosey." Didn't see any moose but some otters playing on a memorable paddle.

Esme teaches me to go out expectantly, looking for life!

2. Dress up for rhubarb picking! Today somehow seemed to be a pink floofy dress day, so there we were wading through high grass, trying to find the over grown rhubarb patch...we were successful!
What an occasion, when you wear what you want to do some fairly outdoorsy things!

3. Take time to go and see and cuddle a puppy. Friends of ours have sled dog pups and we had to go see them and take time to cuddle and smell their puppy breath and pet their puppy tummies.
Esme is teaching me to live in now, to pay attention, to not rush from here to there.
I'm thankful for her two year old perspective!