**My very FIRST slideshow! Aren’t you proud?**
**My very FIRST slideshow! Aren’t you proud?**
This is Susie Reporter. Reporting to you live from the Lake Linden gym, Thursday night, January 20th.
Susie Reporter is here for a high school basketball game. Baraga versus Lake Linden.
The tension is high. This is the second match of the season. Baraga won the first game, 59-41.
The boys are ready to play.
Susie Reporter’s husband is taking pictures of the game, too. He’s lined up at the end of the court, under the basket. Where the action is.
She sits in the stands, propped casually against the wall, aiming her long lens toward the Excitement.
All around Susie hears the murmur of fans. They like to direct traffic. They like to urge their team toward victory. They tell the coaches and referees and players how the game should be going.
Susie settles against the hard brick wall and tries to determine which setting on her camera will produce clear, crisp photos. She looks for action shots.
She ignores the people around her who wonder why she is taking so many pictures. She’s living out her secret life as a sports reporter.
She missed the Junior Varsity game earlier in the evening because she discovered a library–YES! A library!–in the Lake Linden school. While her bona-fide reporter/photographer husband snapped pictures of the JV game, she found the library.
A library complete with computers. A library about to hold its first official book club meeting of the year.
While the nice librarian situated our Susie behind an empty computer, the four book club members filed in. Cookies and coffee and pop were offered. A lively discussion began.
Of course, Susie offered her opinion about various books. Of course she agreed to the delicious cookie–and then another one. She could have lingered forever among the books and cookies and computers, but suddenly remembered her assignment.
She left the library with admonitions to write kindly about the game. She agreed.
Lake Linden (way, way north of Baraga–Google maps says it’s 47 miles) is situated on the Keweenaw Peninsula. They get lots and lots of snow. There was so much snow that Susie longed to take pictures and show her readers. But it was after dark. She had to settle for sports photos.
Lake Linden features one of the remaining old-time gyms. You enter the front door and turn left toward the gym. You face a rail which looks down on the basketball court. You must walk down a narrow stairway to reach the gym below. There you will find bleachers at court level. (There are bleachers up above, too. Although Susie Reporter has never sat there. The action is downstairs, you know.)
Susie would prefer not to attend basketball games. She attended way too many basketball games over the years. Her own children lopped balls toward hoops in high school all those years ago. She has tagged along to way too many basketball and football and hockey games in her life, accompanying her husband on “dates”. (She is not really a sports reporter, readers, but shhhh….do not tell. She tries to make the best of whatever life offers. So if life offers a basketball game in the Copper Country in January–well, she’ll try her best to be Susie Sports Reporter.)
I’m sure you are all wondering who won the game. Baraga pulled off the win: 71-55.
The reporters piled in the car and drove back home. Susie wondered if she would get ONE picture her blog editor might like. She wiped the cookie crumbs from her coat and the car headed south through the snow squalls.
Hundreds of Upper Peninsula parents and grandparents and friends were heading home from basketball games all over the peninsula.
This is how many Yoopers spend their weekday nights in winter.
Signing off just as the basketball clears the hoop and the fans cheer wildly, Susie Reporter
Let’s pretend we’re back in school and our teacher said, “Write a story about what you did today.”
This blog is the story of my day. (Yes, yes, many blogs are stories about my day. But this one has photographs to accompany many pauses along the way. Patience, patience. We shall get to the Bubble Story eventually.)
First, I woke up at 6:10. No alarm clock. Barry was putzing in the kitchen after he woke up sometime around 4:30 a.m. The woodstove was already going. Hallelujah! That is usually my job. The coffee was already brewed.
Because of the Bubble Story, I switched around my hours at work at the school today. Drove in on dark and slippery roads–very early. Before the teachers arrived I was budgeting numbers. Very exciting. Truly. I always feel like budgeting is the equivalent of putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You get to make all the pieces fit!
You have to say hello to the fish in the aquarium as you go inside. Do not feed them. The kids feed them on the days when they are in school. You feed them in the summertime and during vacations–but not today. Today you just snap a picture as you go by. You look at the bubbles in the aquarium. You never imagine you will be writing a blog about bubbles before you return to the school at 6:30 p.m. for a board meeting in which you patiently explain how the jigsaw puzzle of budgeting fits together.
After work, I drove to town. Slippery roads. Don’t go faster than 45 mph. Last week there were several accidents on local roads. A woman just my age, from Ontonagon, died five miles south of L’Anse. One must navigate these roads carefully at this time of year.
I stopped by the “Head of the Bay” between L’Anse and Baraga to take a photo of Lake Superior for you.
Look closer through the camera’s lens. You will see where the ice ends and the open water starts. Last year I called this no-man’s-land: The Edge of the Known World.
Then I had lunch with faithful blog reader and friend, Susan D. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to show you of our lunch date. We ate at the Lakeside Restaurant in Baraga. We caught up on the last few weeks. We re-connected.
Then I convinced her to please–pretty please!–come to the art gallery. I had three photos to deliver to Gallery 325 for Friday night’s show. The theme is Earth Air Fire Water.
You are invited. Friday night. 7- 9 p.m. 315 McGillan Street in Baraga.
I gave Karen at the gallery my three photos.
“No frames this time,” I said.
I have decided that I am a frame-less person and that my photos simply should not be framed. They must be free! Free photos with no harsh barriers, edges or limits. Yep, that’s the thought this month, anyway.
Karen barely raised her eyebrow. She showed me how they would have to hang my photos. A little clip, an almost invisible heavy thread.
“Yep, perfect!” I agreed.
“What do you want to name your photos?” she asked.
Oh no! One must name their photos? No names came to mind. I peered at the Bubble photo, which Karen liked.
“How about Bubble?” I asked.
“You can’t call that just a Bubble!” Karen insisted. “How about Spirit Bubble? How about…?” (and then she suggested about three or four different alternatives.)
But, for some reason, Bubble stuck. It had to be called Bubble. Just like it didn’t want a frame.
Susan agreed. “It has to be Bubble,” she said.
Karen just shook her head at us.
Bubble it was.
I will show you the three photos that will be in the show. Click here (the last photo), here (the last photo–you can see what it looks like without the glare from my flash) and here (the underwater rock photo–second to the last)! They are on metallic paper and really look cool. I love mpix.com! They do wonderful work in a very timely manner. Do try them, if you want to have some of your photographs entered in your local art show.
Now I shall leave you with some Words of Wisdom, from the Bumper Sticker on Karen’s car:
Welcome to Gallery 325 in Baraga, Michigan. Thank you for visiting our small art gallery. Would you like some snacks? Punch, coffee? Please sign the guest book before you leave. Thank you.
This month’s theme is Domestic Violence. Let’s think about those who have suffered from domestic violence. Let’s see how folks have created art around this theme in a variety of ways.
The first photo in this blog shows my three photographs (and, of course, a poem) dealing with this challenging subject. It was the first time I’ve entered anything in an art show. I chose three photos…the spirit rock from last year’s outdoor blog (click here and scroll to the third picture), Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (click here and scroll to the last photo) and an angel with missing hands from this year’s blog. Click here to see the angel. The title of my showing was (c’mon who can guess?) Angels.
It was challenging for many of the participants to portray artwork representing this theme. I was super challenged…not having too many photos which fit into the aforementioned topic. But you would be surprised. Many folks entered artwork which displayed forbearance, courage, hope.
Others created pieces which cut to the heart of domestic violence, portraying agony and pain.
It was an enjoyable experience to truly admire all the different works, to see how creativity births itself in different ways through different mediums. We are all so unique!
Perhaps 30-40 people wandered through the gallery between 7-9 p.m. I loved seeing old friends and acquaintances–and meeting new ones. The best part of the evening was talking with a fellow who expressed his challenges with creating art. He feels like a blocked artist. He has so many ideas…but never seems to be able to follow through to create. He feels too much of a perfectionist.
I became super excited and began offering suggestions. How about creating a corner in his house dedicated to Imperfect Art? How about insisting to himself that he can only create Imperfect Art? No perfect art allowed!! Find a corner in the basement–perhaps–and make all sorts of imperfect pieces. How about ten imperfect pieces to start? Then, every time his mind starts carrying on about the art being inferior–he must write the Mind’s judgment on a piece of paper and tape it on the wall.
I told him about the drawing project Kiah and I did this summer. We did a 30-day drawing project. (Never told you regular readers about that, did I?) We drew stick figures, crazy childish scrawlings, baby art! Oh was it imperfect art! It was so imperfect we laughed until we almost fell on the floor in glee. She’s still laughing about the picture I drew of a Yogic guru, and I’m still giggling about her stick figures. Funny, I loved the pic of the guru and she loved her stick figures. Tis all in the eye of the beholder, ye Imperfect Artists!
We do so much violence to ourselves in our internal judgments. Here is the poem I typed and displayed next to my photos. It describes the violence we do to ourselves every single day when we slap, push around and knock ourselves over. Next time you’re tempted to do this to yourself, remember this:
Oh angels, how many hands must break,
how many bruised cheeks turn from the sun?
How many times must you slap yourselves
in the bedroom of your thoughts?
How many jeers must you endure?
How many sleepless nights of despairing earthen feet,
clay around your eyes, the
endless refrain of not being perfect.
Oh angels, no more brutal love—
no more beating yourselves up, pushing sideways
into walls of ancient defenses.
No more domestic violence.
Be gentle, Oh angels, be sweetly gentle
The mirror of the world reflects back
bitter hurled hatred of our inner despair.
Refuse to engage.
When thoughts of self-recrimination rise,
walk by the lake instead.
Let the spirit in the stone sing herself into your
dreams, healing broken pain.
Thank you for visiting the gallery. Help yourselves to more chips and dip before you go. Remember, sign the guestbook! And come back in November to view some Native American works of art. Good night…
Ohmygosh, I am so lazy. I have not been able to take a single new picture since–since–well, it’s been a few days. This has never before happened in the history of my blogging. Alas. Luckily, I have 10,000 photos from last year! Why take a new picture, anyway?
So…would you like to know what’s been happening? In this particular life?
I watched a movie last night. Letters to Juliet. It was OK. A chickee-flick. A girl-flick. Not the greatest acting. Except for Vanessa Redgrave. But (of course you’ve intuited this) it was a love story. If you’re in the mood for a love story, rent it. If you want good acting, try something else.
It’s raining. Rain, rain, rain. 2.25 inches yesterday! Probably another half-inch today. The Silver River overfloweth. OK, maybe not overfloweth, but it is running high.
I had trouble concentrating at work today. One of those restless days. When restlessness attempts to hijack the body. OK, I must admit, restlessness won. I even left work early. (Which means I may have to go in a couple of hours this weekend.)
The leaves have started to turn. If I overcome my apathy for photo-taking, I’ll take some pictures for you. Reds and oranges and yellows splash across the horizon as you’re driving to and fro.
Guess what? My friend, Catherine, has invited me to a concert tomorrow night! A Russian concert: Chamber Orchestra Kremlin. I shall go, even though classical music is not–necessarily–my #1 love. That’s because we must always push the envelope. That way our love expands. We may discover we love classical Kremlin music. We may discover something new. (And, besides, Catherine has agreed to go out for dinner. Hurray! Won’t we have fun?)
Something else has been happening. I am going to show three photos at Gallery 325. That is our local art gallery. Can you believe it? I have been painstakingly learning how to print photos (through mpix.com) and buy frames (at Michaels Store in Marquette). The theme of the show is “Domestic Violence.” Hmmm….OK, I was sure I would be able to come up with some photos that would cover domestic violence. Even if it was a bird crashing into the window. That sounds like domestic violence to me. Does it to you?
Tonight I am going to sit down and concentrate and write some words to go along with the three photos. Of course, my heart is going pitter-pat quite rapidly at the prospect of writing something about domestic violence. But what? I think the poem or essay shall involve the domestic violence we do to ourselves, in our own minds.
The only other news I can think to add is: I am eating Cheerios for the first time in my life since childhood. Of course, they aren’t really Cheerios. They’re called “Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal” from Kashi. Mmmm….very good. They are fulfilling a deep longing I didn’t know existed. There are even hearts in the cereal. Kinda like Lucky Charms, but without the nasty colors & flavorings. Eating some more straight out of the box right now. Who says dinner can’t be Cheerios?
Signing off now, and wishing you all a splendiferous weekend. Happy Saturday with the added bonus of a Sunday!
Baraga Pow-Wow, 2010. Thirty second annual Keweenaw Bay Maawanji’iding at the Ojibwa Campground.
Theme: Honoring our Legacy.
Kiah and I drove over Saturday afternoon. She wanted especially to connect with a couple of friends who would be at the Pow Wow.
Last year I wrote deeply spiritual blogs called If you listen to the Pow Wow drums… you will never be the same and Farewell, Pow Wow. Until next year…
It must have been sunnier weather last year, because the photos this year proved more challenging. The sacred dancing circle beneath the pines filtered sunlight on the dancers. (Just checked. Nope, that sunnier weather excuse can’t be used. It rained last year. Hmmm….)
Lots of people enjoyed the Pow Wow photos and posts from last year. They wrote to say how they inspired them, how they moved their hearts and spirits.
But one native fella wrote to tell me that I was a crazy white person with no knowledge of Pow Wows at all. He said all my romantic-spiritual talk was just the garble of a white “wanna-be”. As in–”wanna be Native”. He objected to the romanticizing of the native way of life, the “appropriation of the culture by non-natives”. He said he has lived in a white culture his whole life and would not romanticize it. He said that the Pow Wow is not necessarily a spiritual event and asked, “Are you serious?”
I calmly and compassionately–hopefully compassionately–responded to him:
You may be right. I appreciate your insights. I do tend to romanticize everything, white culture, all cultures, everything. That may be my nature. Most of my friends kind of expect it by now. My native friends who read the blog said they liked it very much, and passed it along to many of their friends. But I suppose others felt the same way you do. I actually have gone back to the Pow Wow every year for 22 years to give thanks to the people and everything they taught me on this spiritual journey. I understand that it’s not necessarily spiritual, but it was for me. So, I must say I was serious, truly so, but can see your point of view. Thank you for sharing, Kathy
It is good when we can share our different perspectives and reach some sort of understanding. No matter if we are of different races, tribes, cultures, sexual orientations, political beliefs.
If we sit down and talk face-to-face, being as honest and vulnerable as possible, we can often find common understanding. Perhaps an agreement to see the world differently…but an understanding beyond initial reactionary disagreement.
Not always, but often, this happens.
In certain sacred dances at the Pow Wow, we are asked to put away our cameras. I usually look carefully around the circle to determine if it’s appropriate to take photos. It is challenging sometimes to know. Some deeply spiritual people do not want to be photographed.
Sometimes, in life, it is hard to gauge what to do. One must always consult one’s heart. And, even then, others might disagree with the heart’s opinion…
Kiah and I enjoyed watching the dancers.
We listened to the sacred prayers and blessings, then opted to leave. It was a short visit to the Pow Wow this year.
Perhaps next year it will be longer…
And here is the promised “Pickle Girl”! I asked permission from her mama for this photo. Isn’t she cute? Isn’t the pickle almost as big as she is?
I love the way children so often share of themselves so beautifully, effortlessly. Here is a pickle. Want one?
I don’t care, the little girl seems to say, what color you are. I don’t care if you make mistakes. I don’t care about anything except…want to share a pickle? Here! Isn’t it good?