While I was on a white water rafting trip with beloved Minnesota author Carol Bly, she happened to mention that she loathed cameras. Writers should be seeing, not taking photos, she reminded me. This comforts me because while I might have missed the opportunity to digitally record the glorious abundance of roadside wild flowers that graced northern Minnesota this year, I recorded them mentally. Golden birds-eye trefoil banked the roadsides. White daisies merged with thick swaths lupines in pink, purple and yellow. Black-eyed Susan, lacy cow parsnip, and bright orange and yellow hawk weed stippled the landscape turning every walk or journey into a fragrant, hopeful flowering of life. If you enjoy looking as well as recording perhaps you find yourself wondering, as do I, if our cement cities -- where so much suffering lurks behind walls of prejudice and fear -- could be transformed into places of compassion and empathy if more gardens and green spaces provided oasis of peace where we could listen to and share one another’s stories.
In April, Bill and I decided to sell our Florida condo and stay year-round in our Lake Superior home. We’d just returned home when I had a bad fall and the resulting bruise transformed into a large hematoma on my right shin. Three months later, that wound almost healed, I failed a stress test and the following day underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Four weeks later, I’m back in my little writing shed, writing to you and reworking yet again the sequel to The Scent of God. Having recently been reminded of life’s fragility I greet each morning with joy. I am filled with gratitude for another day to celebrate living and the abundance of blessing found in every moment.
I am looking at Lake Superior right now from the window in my writing shed. It is grey and restless, perhaps contemplating a change in the weather. From here I send you my thoughts and hopes for a year of healing midst the turmoil of a nation at odds with the principles on which it was founded. May peace reign in our hearts and overflow into the lives of those around us. Beryl