It takes a lifetime to grow deep roots

Exposed roots

Exposed roots, yellow sky

It takes a lifetime, perhaps, to really know a piece of land.  We men and women, tramping here, and peering there at robin nests and butterfly landings, are merely infants in nature’s scheme, even though we like to imagine we’re the Head Honchos of the planet, the great beast of prey.

We moved here to the southern shore of Lake Superior back in the late 1970’s.  We came as innocents, thinking we knew something, as young folks in their 20’s often do.  We arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to cut firewood and create a home where we might someday raise children of the earth, wild things, really, with dirt between their toes and imaginations bigger than this deep cold unpredictable lake.

Lake reflections

Lake reflections

Of course, the young’uns would read books, too, and draw pictures with sharp stubby pencils, and carry stuffed animals down to the spring-melt off and once even load the creatures in a red wagon and “run away” into the trees for at least an hour while Mama watched periodically through the bedroom window from fifty feet away.

It takes a long time, perhaps a lifetime, to learn the language of trees and chickadees and black bear, let alone our fellow humans.  You must listen carefully to hear the swish of garter snakes almost underfoot, the screech of an owl at midnight that sounds like a forlorn baby crying, the faraway call of the noble loon.

Yet another reflection

Yet another reflection

You learn about clouds of mosquitoes, so thick that arms and hands move constantly, slapping, killing.  “I am a murderer,” I thought only yesterday, blood on bare skin, mosquitoes lying limp and crushed.

Black flies bites burn, and often welt deep.  Sand flies, oh what pests.  Wood ticks?  We’ve discussed them ad nauseam.  What about the red fox, trotting low, so feral, so beautiful? What about the porcupine with his razor-sharp quills that climbed the poplar behind the deck and munched budding leaves, oh how delicious after winter’s sparse pickings, and waved in the wind, a swaying porcupine, my goodness, what if that branch simply breaks, sending the creature falling eighty feet straight down?

A porcupine on the road

A porcupine on the road

You could study the flora and fauna from now until sunset and only know a few random facts.  Do you know where the raccoon lives?  Do you know why the rabbits live up the road at Roz’s old house, rather than down here?  (It’s because lots of low-growing evergreens provide cover for hide and seek, musky earth-smelling cubbyholes to save rabbit fur from hunting hawks and owls.)

We’ve lived here, oh, 34 short years, and I know so little.

How many years does one chatter away in one’s head and not feel the earth beneath her feet?  How many seasons pass, just like that, and you’re too busy planting garden seeds, and scolding chipmunks for stealing all the pea seeds, and annoyed at the pileated woodpecker that destroyed one exterior wall with his insistent pecking, looking for tasty insects and now you’ll have to spend how many hundreds of dollars repairing it?

When you move to a rural area, a place already populated by others who’ve grown generations of roots into the earth, how long does it take to be accepted?  How many years must you be an outsider?

Some of the old-timers think the new-comers are trespassing, just by living here.

Some of the old-timers think the new-comers are trespassing, just by living here.

More than 34 years, methinks.  Just last week, at a local meeting, when the board debated up and down the possibility of spraying chemicals to kill tag alder trees near the cemetery–and I voiced the unpopular opinion that it just wasn’t right–a friend later frowned and said, “Remember what I told you 25 years ago?” she said.  “If you don’t like how we are up here, don’t move here.”

“We’ve lived here 34 years,” I sighed, wondering if she was joking or serious.  (How long?  How long until we’re totally accepted?  The answer–maybe never.)

We weren’t born here.  They don’t remember our parents in elementary school.  Heck, they didn’t even know our grandparents or great-grandparents. We’re transplants, like cucumber or broccoli starts grown from seed in a faraway greenhouse.

This, by the way, is the same friend who once confided, “I like the way you help me see outside the box.”

Seeing both inside and outside of the box.  (Not this year's strawberries, of course!)

Seeing both inside and outside of the box. (Not this year’s strawberries, of course!)

Her family has long roots, hearty roots, deep in the soil.  She’s not alone in her assessment.  Many locals wish the transplants would stay away.  Or at least take them as they are and not irritate them with fancy environmental tree-huggin’ suggestions.  Their focus goes toward earning a living in a tough-scrabble place.  Who’s to blame them?  Their children must find jobs and many don’t care if they’re in a sulfide mine, or chopping down trees, as long as they can feed hungry family big bowls of stew or maybe some venison.

Our children moved away.  Their toes no longer dirty, their forts no longer standing, the stuffed animals packed in the attic.

I’m a murderer.  I split hundreds, thousands, millions of trees into logs to keep us warm come wintertime.  Life-giving sap dries up on my planetary watch.  Look out, tree.  Look out, mosquito.  Nothing’s safe on this planet, is it, or easy to classify in black and white judgments?

How long does it take to know a place, the ins and outs?  A lifetime, I guess.

Old-timers who grew roots.  (From a mural in Ashland, Wisconsin.)

Old-timers who grew roots. (From a mural in Ashland, Wisconsin.)

Why does it take a lifetime?  We’re given the opportunity to create a relationship with our surroundings, to glimpse beyond our limited personal selves.  Some create even a marriage of sorts.  Perhaps we need season passing season to deepen into our relationship with our local flora, fauna and two-leggeds.

Perhaps, one fine day, the boundaries will fall away and we’ll realize our innate interdependence with everything.  Perhaps, even, one sunrise the definition of ourselves will expand to include the sun, the water, the boat.  We’ll realize we’re not as limited as we once imagined.

Perhaps the earth will celebrate in a rainbow of delight.

Sunrise, Keweenaw Bay, Lake Trout Fishing Festival last weekend

Sunrise, Keweenaw Bay, Lake Trout Fishing Festival last weekend

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to It takes a lifetime to grow deep roots

  1. Very profound, Kathy. You’re actually thinking more like the original inhabitants of the land who only took what they needed, not tore out trees to plant fields of grain or to raise livestock. They didn’t worry that one species of tree was invading spaces they wanted. They revered the earth and all those who resided on her. We must all learn to respect the land more, live in harmony with it, or we will end up with nothing. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I admire many of the philosophies of the natives, withershins. Always wanting to think and feel more holistically, to revere the land as well as the humans. Not to take more than we need. It sounds like, perhaps, you feel the same way?

      • I do think we have similar feelings about this. Even though I don’t have much of a green thumb, I can appreciate nature and I’m always sad to see it torn down to put up a mini-mall (or something equally unappealing). There’s a show about mining that makes me cringe every time they start bulldozing the trees to get at the soil. (shudder!)

  2. rehill56 says:

    You are a child of the universe you belong here. 😉 How important for those who belong here who may not be recognized by those who may have been here longer to see this beautiful world in new ways….you inspire those who may not realize what they have. You don’t want them to lose it.

    • Kathy says:

      Ruth, having married into this place, but being from elsewhere–you seem to be able to gracefully and beautifully walk the line. Love what you wrote here. Sure enjoyed our time together in Houghton on Tuesday!

  3. Robin says:

    Well, now, you’ve brought tears to my eyes this morning. Beautiful words, beautiful images, beautiful thoughts, Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Robin. Am enjoying putting out fewer posts, but possibly some deeper thoughts and images. Lingering with a single offering a bit longer.

  4. Fountainpen says:

    Let’s all do more waiting watching wondering/wandering.

  5. “Perhaps, one fine day, the boundaries will fall away and we’ll realize our innate interdependence with everything.”

    A beautiful prayer to start the day this fine morning – thank you.

  6. Interdependence is one of my favorite words. Perhaps knowing a place, a piece of land, is like knowing your spouse or partner. As time goes on, after 38 years, we’re amazed that we’re still learning things about each other – there’s always more to discover. I LOVE the picture of the exposed roots!

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Barbara, exactly. The longer we’ve been married, the more we realize that there are still things to learn from one another. The same with the land. The same with our community. One part of our mind seems to want to limit, to think we’ve summarized it all–but Life keeps deepening, growing roots. Thank you. (And happy wedding this weekend!)

  7. Susan D says:

    Wow … wow …

    • Kathy says:

      Did the wow mean your roots grew a bit, Susan? *smile* I am thinking about the value of wings, as well. Roots and wings. Sounds like a more apt description of who we are…

  8. lisaspiral says:

    I struggle with this. My family has been here generations and I occasionally find the “new-comers” irritating as well. For me it’s the weather, I watch it, my father watched it, my grandfather watched it and on and on. 60 degrees in June isn’t fun, it’s lower than the mean average, but it’s NOT abnormal. LAST year was abnormal, when spring came in March and stayed. And there-in lies the problem. The world is changing, the climate is changing. The deeply rooted aren’t always able to adjust to those changes. It’s people like you who have clearly planted roots and are clearly in relationship with the land who bridge that gap between those who walk on our ancestors bones and blood and those who are truly just visiting. You’ll never be an old timer, but you still belong, speak to the land and are in service. Those deeply rooted recognize that, even if they don’t always appreciate it.

    • Kathy says:

      Wow~~Lisa, thank you for sharing your perspective as one of the deeply rooted. But also being able to see beyond the pull of the roots to the gifts of newness. You can see into both worlds, and share your insights from both. You know, there are many ways that Barry and I are very interwoven into the community, appreciated and maybe liked. It’s just there’s that sometimes unspoken “irritation” with new ideas, new blood, always changing things. I suppose there has always been this subtle clash, from the time of the Native Americans, to the immigrants from Finland and Norway and Sweden, to the miners to the the farmers to the loggers. A movement for rootedness and a call for wings. Thank you again.

  9. P.j. grath says:

    Three thoughts: (1) We are not natives, but we are locals. (2) There’s no shortcut to a long relationship. (3) I came here and started a life, just as did the great-grandparents of the fourth-generation natives. I’ve put down roots.

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, (1) and many of the natives are not natives either. They, too, were once newcomers. (2) Yes. That was what I was trying to say. (3) And you have enriched your community with your roots. Thank you!

  10. Janet says:

    I love your words.

  11. Lori D says:

    I know how it feels to be a transplant. This year I’ve lived half my life in the Chicago burbs, and now half my life in Florida. I still don’t feel quite at home here in FL. The people are different.

    I remember my cat who died shortly after my beloved dog (wrote about him on my blog this week). My neighbors called this cat “The Hunter.” We called her Sneakers. She wasn’t a friendly cat, but she was beautiful. In my wildest imagination, I couldn’t envision her hunting. She was like a regal, sparkling queen, always perfectly groomed, with a shiny tuxedo coat and piercing green eyes.

    Then one day I found a half-dead mockingbird on my front stoop. Guess who hunted it? Yep, my regal, sparkling Sneakers. I was disgusted by her. She was a murderer! Her lovely coat turned to tar and piercing eyes to devil’s horns from my perspective. I wouldn’t go near her for weeks. I couldn’t believe she could hurt such a delicate creature.

    Finally, one day while I was sitting out on my porch, I witnessed (by accident) a mockingbird snatch up a dragonfly the size of a small bird and gobble it up. Not long after, I watched another mockingbird dive-bombing a cat, attacking it until it took cover under a car. I felt like the universe was sending me a message about Sneakers. I hadn’t petted her in weeks and really couldn’t stand the sight of her. I realized I was being too hard on her.

    It seems that in this realm of the material, there is a purposeful instinct for survival. I’ve often wondered why we need to kill to survive. Sometimes I think this place is a playground in order for us to know joy. How does one know joy unless they experience sorrow?

    Sorry this was so long. These are things I’ve contemplated and introspected on many times. I’ve found peace about them, but not about being a transplant. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Lori, thank you for sharing your stories here. Synchronistically enough, one of our cats names was Hunter. He was a stray we took in, and he liked to hunt. Strangely enough, none of our cats was a very good hunter. Sometimes they would catch a mouse or bird, but not too frequently. A fact for which we were grateful. (Except we wished for a few more mice caught.)

      I like the conclusion you have drawn. We can’t really know joy without sorrow. They seem to be two sides of the same coin, perhaps.

      Wishing you more peace each day with your transplant status, my friend.

  12. Stacy says:

    I don’t know if one can ever really know a place – not humans anyway. I feel we are interlopers on this planet – or maybe it’s just that I feel that way about myself. I love being on Earth, and I feel at home when I’m near the trees, but somehow I just don’t know if I ever will belong, no matter where I was born and raised or how long I rest in one place. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I know your perspective well, too. Sometimes I think we’re not meant to feel at home on the earth, that maybe our true home is our center, our heart. That it’s most important to learn how to live deeply comfortable and accepting and reverential within ourselves. And then, perhaps, we’ll be truly Home.

      • Stacy says:

        I am inspired to do just that, Kathy. I’m going to look into those books you recommended so that I can delve deeper – though your blog is pretty darn inspirational, if I do say so (and I do!). ❤

  13. what a thought-provoking post – I have lived in my little town for 33 years, 7 in the city before that (a city only 30 miles away and where I went to university), then in the country only five miles outside the town I now live in for twenty years. I feel very entrenched in this area, sometimes trapped by the fact that I am related to so many who live here–I love when the “new” people come–they bring new life to the area.
    sometimes I would like to move away,to be the new people, to stretch my wings–
    It is good to be the locals, but it is good to be the new locals too — 34 years and you are not local yet–amazing but true in this world of ours!

    • Kathy says:

      LouAnn, some of my local friends say the same thing as you. They say they feel a bit trapped by their relatives, sometimes a bit smothered by all the relations. When they talk like this, I can see that there is always an ever-changing balance between roots and wings. I miss my hometown and family and relatives sometimes, but have come to know friends who are as dear to me here. Thank you.

  14. penpusherpen says:

    Wonderfully worded, and such wonderful thoughts shared Kathy. I think it’s a continual learning curve, … and those who have been there many, many years are always going to look on others as outsiders. The main thing is how you feel about the land and flora and fauna., how you relate. Reading your words you are ‘attuned’ to your surroundings. You amaze me Kathy, for I feel I would be so completely lost. I feel sure the Earth will celebrate soon with a Rainbow of Delight, and Oh my goodness what a sight that will be for sure. hugs to you xPenx

    • Kathy says:

      Pen, for many years I was pretty lost here. Mostly in my head, writing, planning, not very attuned to the earth and land. Then was welcomed into a small group of Native Americans for about seven years and started opening my eyes to the natural world. Am grateful to them for teaching me to “see”. Thank you for stopping by this learning curve and sharing your thoughts.

  15. Colleen says:

    I don’t know, Kathy. I’m coming to feel that roots aren’t necessarily about where you were born or how long you have lived on a piece of land or how many generations of family and ancestors have lived on that land. They go so much deeper than that. More a sense of groundedness, a love and awareness of this planet and the earth beneath our feet that does’t feel related to lengths of time or place. Just my thoughts as our life takes us farther and farther away from what we knew for so many years.

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I hear and honor your words. Can always feel that sense of groundedness, love and awareness for the planet, when you share. Thank you.

  16. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy, I love how you express your thoughts and feelings, questions and ideas. Today you brought up another subject very familiar to me, although in slightly different circumstances. The sense of belonging has eluded me much of my life. There have been a few rare instances where I’ve been treated to the “almost there” edge of belonging. I do, however, know with certainty where my heart feels most at home. And those places are where I belong. Sometimes, deep in my soul, I realize my place is not of this earth and it frightens me. Makes me feel so much like an outsider watching everyone else go on their with their living, loving, listening and learning. Those times are when I pray and beg for God to show me my place and that’s when my heart settles and realizes this whole life is where I belong. No matter where I go, or who I’m with—it is just as it should be. And finally beginning to truly understand interdependence and seeing how we are all connected…not only to each other but to every living thing, makes life incredibly rich and beautiful!
    Kathy, you do belong right where you are—-your heart is so beautifully compassionate to the needs of everyone around you…and your heart listens and learns about the world you live in and that shows respect. ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Deep bows, Brenda, for your realizations. Resonating that you feel “this whole life is where I belong”. That may be the place where roots and wings come together, where we realize the Oneness that we are. Thank you, as always for sharing your knowings.

  17. john says:

    Kathy, it is the fact that your thinking is not in the box. You question, you reason, you look beyond. No matter where you live or how long you live there those people who try to shift a paradigm are rebuffed. If there is any chance of them ever changing their mindset, it will come from people like you who are introducing a new social gene set into the community. You plant seeds in their minds and they will slowly grow, expanding their vision.

    • Kathy says:

      John, you know, for every time I’ve felt the rebuff of being a newcomer, have been also given the gift of feeling the love of a friend. There has been more welcoming and openness than turning away. The rebuffing is an undercurrent that exists in some people; not in others. It will be interesting to see how you feel about that undercurrent. Perhaps there has been so many newcomers in the last 10-20 years that most of it will be gone. I love thinking outside the box. In other ways, I’m in the box with all those strawberries. 🙂

  18. Sensitive and deeply rooted in your being in this Universe always belonging wherever you are. I could write books on “having always owned this land on Route 2”. No one else, except our Indian ancestors, ever owned our land….but then no one ever “owns” this land, our land. We are only caretakers for a spell and then others come and hopefully take care as our ancestors did…I don’t know that yet since we still own the land. And as you said, if you were not born there, lived there, know whom is related to whom, then you are an outsider probably always. That is the way it has always been; the flip side is that one can be an outsider in their own place and space if they think outside the box. So as a child of the Universe, the entire earth is our playground; others can decide who is in or out for it matters not as we look into the first glow of the morning sun and watch it traverse throughout the day until the final evening sunset and the moon rises…where we are is where we belong.
    Thank you for a great post.

    • Kathy says:

      Linda, so glad you enjoyed this post and could offer your perspective from one who has grown deep roots and who understands that we are just caretakers of the land. I think rural areas experience this outsider mentality more than cities, although could be wrong. Also love being a Child of the Universe! You know where we truly belong. Thank you.

  19. monicadevine says:

    I’ve thought about this often, having lived in Alaska and raised a family for over 32 years. Will I want/need to move when I’m older, unable to navigate the long, dark filled winter seasons? Would it be better to live in town, where I could walk everywhere and not have to shovel snow, get a car started, chop wood? How long will it take to develop a loving community of friends? I agree…it takes years to know the contours of a landscape, to know it deeply in your bones; we are shaped by our environment in more ways than we know…

    • Kathy says:

      Monica, I am so glad you stopped over and read this post and offered your thoughts. Sometimes, I ask the same questions. Will we still be splitting wood in our 70’s if we live that long? Oh, and what about plowing all the snow? Will it just be too much? I also wonder if I would stay here if something happened to Barry. What about leaving the network of friends? So glad you understand how landscape can be felt in our bones, how the environment is so very important.

  20. dorannrule says:

    We too are transplants who still don’t belong here in the rural south even after 25 years. The locals call us “foreigners” and the local critters are still teaching us about interdependence as we study the ways of the forests and the fields. You post is stunning in its clarity and beauty. I love your writing.

    • Kathy says:

      Dor, so you’re another long-term transplant, too. Really, you’re called a “foreigner”? Sometimes native Yoopers (from the UP) call people who come from Lower Michigan “trolls” or “berry pickers”. Thank you for liking the writing. I love taking the time to write more in-depth posts like this.

  21. Dana says:

    I think it depends on where you live, Kathy. I spent the first 26 years of my life living in my ‘home town’ but feeling terribly out of place. As soon as I stepped off the west coast ferry and took in the dewy beauty of Victoria, though, I knew in an instant I was home. (Granted, I haven’t had anybody questioning the legitimacy of my being here. I think everyone in Victoria expects that everyone came from some place else. Hardly anybody is born and raised here.)

    • Kathy says:

      Dana, what a good point–that different places can be “home” for us. Perhaps our soul knows where we’re meant to place roots, and where it’s OK to spread our wings and fly. I was thinking, when writing this, that West Coasters and people from the city might not get this mentality because so many are transplants. But then it felt like that thought might be 100% untrue and fabricated, so waited to see if anyone else would express it. 🙂

  22. Elisa says:

    My God! I never thought to fit in, by not fitting in! You will probably have to tattoo that onto my forehead or slap a bumper sticker upon me in order for me to retain it. Hey! Realization or at least a new thought is a step!

  23. I love this, Kathy! When I first moved here, someone said, “…an islander like you…” meaning ME (who was not raised here at all, who barely spent two weeks a year here from age 10 to 18, and then not at all for another eight years, but who’s father and grandfather were raised here), which caused one of my customers to look at me with a wry grin and say, “I’ve lived here now for fifty years, and am still considered an outsider!” I tend not to NEED to fit in the way others want to…and yet, when you talk about speaking up for your ideals, I realize that I also keep a VERY low profile here, with respect to my left-leaning politics, my feminism, my ecological concerns, my spiritual beliefs…and on and on. I admire your courage in speaking for what’s important!

    • Kathy says:

      I am smiling, Cindy, about you being labeled as “islander” because of your root connections through your family. Our children–who live in big cities far away–are actually considered to belong here far more than Barry and I. As for speaking up for my ideals–this has actually taken a lifetime. Have had to learn to move through fear and actually speak up. For a shy kid, this can be challenging. You know, blogging has actually helped make this easier. Do you find that true for you, too?

      • Parenthood and work in customer service forced me to work through the worst of my shyness. Work in customer service has forced me to learn to keep my own opinions to myself. Blogging has given voice to those thoughts again. Back and forth.

  24. me2013 says:

    I don’t think we can ever truly fit in, well not if you have a mind of your own you can’t.

    • Kathy says:

      Perhaps for some people, me2013, that is the lesson that we need to learn. That it’s OK not to always fit in. It’s OK to be ourselves.

  25. I smile when I read the part about your speaking out at the local meeting and being reminded of your transplant status. Our kids may be Duluthians but we never will be in some people’s eyes — when people ask “where did you go to school” they are meaning high school, not college, and one’s identity (at least for quite a few) is tied to the school or neighborhood they identity with. Not that school or neighborhood pride and community-building is bad, there are many wonderful components to it. But bringing in folks who haven’t “always done it that way” is not always such a bad thing 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Kat, our kids are “locals” because they went to high school here. You made an interesting point here. I was thinking this was more of a rural phenomenon, but you seem to indicate that it happens in the cities/neighborhoods, too. Agreeing with you that newcomers aren’t always such a bad thing.

  26. bearyweather says:

    Fitting in to a new area, especially rural areas, is almost impossible (I know) … you are always the “new” one … even after 10 years. A flood of newbies to the area helps and staying long enough that people who used to think you were the newbie are gone. I have been here since I was 3 yrs old (as a “weekend visitor”) and I have lived and worked here for about 36 years … I am still not considered a “native” to the area. I have decided that is okay with me … there are some assumed traits of the locals I would rather not be associated with 😉

    Bugs are bugging everyone this week (check out Robin’s post). The mosquitoes are extremely bad here this year .. I know the feeling of being a murderer that you described here. However, I think I am being haunted by the ghosts of all the mosquitoes I have killed lately … I feel them on me and biting me even in the house (and there are no visible ones around) 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling, bearyweather. Sounds like you’ve been in the woods as long as we have! One good thing about those who’ve traveled to or lived in different places–we’ve learned to stretch our minds around new possibilities. Sometimes people who haven’t traveled only know one mindset because they haven’t seen more of the world.

      As for the ghosts of those mosquitoes–now, bearyweather! They are probably just no-see-ums getting through your screens. LOL!

  27. msmcword says:

    I liked the photos, especially the one of Keweenaw Bay at sunrise. I felt as if I was in the boat (except I can’t swim).


  28. This is a beautiful post. You ask the questions that none of us have answers to; we can only respond with our own questions.

    Are you glad you began this journey 34 years ago? Are your children growing their own roots at a different location, and doesn’t that make their roots just as strong – for starting as saplings at your chosen home, and now making them bigger, stronger, at their new home? Aren’t we all rooted in the universe in some small way, and does it really matter where we ‘live,’ as long as we root and grow and share love, joy, pain, faith, sorrow, with those rooted around us?

    Well, those are the questions YOUR questions caused me to ask.

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, isn’t it fun to ask more questions to unanswerable questions and see what we come up with? I am very glad to have started this journey 34 years ago–almost 35 now. As for the children growing roots, they are sending roots down into the earth, but they aren’t deep roots yet. That doesn’t mean they don’t love the earth and the places where they live. They are sweeping their wings across their chosen land, and putting down roots, but the roots are tentative, as neither knows if they’ll stay. As for being rooted in the universe in the other way we mentioned–YES! We are. Every single one of us, just by being born here. Those are my answers today. Tomorrow’s answers could be completely different. Thank you!

  29. Ga-lee. What an insightful post, Kathy. Loved reading this but it disturbs me to think that you are sort of looked down on because you are not native to the area. People don’t like change even if it is for the better. I’ve observed that as a fact of life since I was young enough to have any sense. But of course I’m not saying that I have any more sense than I did as a young-um. I thought only southerners and Texans used young-un. 🙂

    Anyhoo, I am sorry your so called friend spoke unkindly to you and that she is so short sighted and is not being realistic about the tree thingy.Now days we should be considering the environment in just about all that we do.

    I don’t know what it feels like to be an outsider. I’ve lived here 50 years in the same house and those around me now, all moved here years later. But I can truthfully say that I have never ever said anything to my neighbors about the fact that I was here first. Change happens.

    I think that you you are firmly planted where you are and those folks need to get a grip on the reality of life and the universe,


    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, thank you for your comment. You are lucky to have not felt the outsider-energy. Fifty years in the same house probably mean you’ve grown very deep roots.

      As for us being looked down, don’t feel too badly for us. It is only an undercurrent of feeling that some old-timers feel. Most don’t even express it. We’ve made ourselves part of this community in a big way, especially since Barry is the editor of the newspaper for so many years. We’ve grown deep roots, whether those people accept it fully or not. We have been very happy here and made many friends. So don’t feel like newcomers are totally looked down upon. It’s always shifting. Things are never black and white–always shades of gray. The woman who said this is actually a good friend who has much to share.

  30. CMSmith says:

    A heartfelt post, Kathy. I think the sense of community that people cherish in places by needs has the opposite side of being exclusionary. I’ve experienced the same, to a lesser degree, in a traditional neighborhood here in Cincinnati. It’s sad really. Tradition is viewed as a wonderful thing. And I think there is some value to it. But it also can create prejudices against those who weren’t indoctrinated with the same traditions. I have no answers for it, except maybe to stay strong in yourself and try not to need other people too much.

    And I don’t think you are a tree killer. The trees you burn were probably already dead or fallen. They make the best firewood anyway. (Don’t burst my bubble if you know that I’m wrong. 🙂 )

    • Kathy says:

      Christine, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. It is interesting to think that this attitude exists in the cities. I thought it might be a more rural phenomenen. You are so right in your thoughts about traditions. They can be tricky waters to navigate. We see this so often on a larger world-wide scenario.

      Please don’t think that we have many people who overtly express what my friend said. This is simply an undercurrent of the mentality of some old-timers. And even they can be good friends. I don’t think they really mean it, and therefore do not feel too rebuffed. Only a tiny bit rebuffed. Sometimes I miss the way people accept me in my hometown because they knew my grandparents.

      Will not burst your bubble re trees. Or mosquitoes. 🙂

  31. Karma says:

    It is funny, I pretty much consider myself a “townie” as there were only a few years of my life I did not live here, yet I really don’t feel I “know” this place as I probably “should”. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of every street or the local business owners or the oldest families in town. It is definitely the place of my roots, the place I call home, despite the fact that I often feel the call of wanderlust. My circumstances prevent me from answering the call, but I hope that won’t always be the case.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, it sounds to me like you have both roots and wings, but wish your roots were a little deeper and your wings able to fly a little further. Perhaps that’s why we live as long as we do–so that our roots and wings grow to be just where they should be. Happy weekend!

  32. I WIlkerson says:

    I didn’t realize you weren’t a native. Perhaps it was destiny for you to move there–you seem so much a child of the land (that land). Your alder tree discussion made me think of the last sturgeon fishing tournament near our “cabin up north”, where I commented that, at least for me, killing a fish probably older than myself didn’t seem possible…

    • Kathy says:

      Nope, Inger, we haven’t lived here since we were born. We breathed our first down in the Lower Peninsula. Hey, have you ever seen a sturgeon? I haven’t, except in museums. A friend who has cancer was fishing in the Sturgeon River this spring with her pink fishing pole and “caught” a sturgeon. Of course the sturgeon was so big that it snapped her pink pole in half and got away.

  33. sybil says:

    Dear Obi Wan,

    How did I get so far in life and not mature ? I am far too quick to judge others. Wherever I “am” that is where everyone else should be. If you’re “behind” me, you’re too conservative and ignorant, if you’re “ahead” of me you’re a radical nut job. I fail to notice how where I “am” is constantly changing and the platform by which I judge others is constantly changing too. I am glad you are teaching me how to be.

    Each post is another pebble to be snatched.



  34. Just spent some time in Northern Michigan…not the UP where you live. I was struck by the birch trees, Blue Spruce and the brilliant vermilion poppies that grow in clumps. Even Nature seems to like company. Or maybe everything grows in clumps but some things just stand out more than others.

    • Kathy says:

      Georgette, I am glad you have been able to spend some time in northern Michigan. It is beautiful up here! Thank you for visiting both our state and my blog!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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