Travel Stories in which the people are as important as the places
Beryl's 2006 Summer Newsletter
August 31, 2016
Four Weeks after Surgery
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
I know a lot of fancy words. I tear them from my heart and my tongue. Then I pray. --Mary Oliver “Six Recognitions of the Lord,” Thirst
Yes, it has been awhile since you’ve heard from me. While I often meant to write, I kept putting it off, hoping for a time when my words would not muddle my efforts to make a meaningful connection. As a writer, I find it almost impossible right now to find the inner peace to write an uplifting newsletter. Not in the midst of what feels like a war zone. Not without sharing concern about the anger, prejudice, and violence seething throughout this nation and the world.
The realm of domination, privilege, and power in which we now live is not the realm of love, compassion and mercy in which I believe. What I see happening alarms me. Democracy giving way to autocracy. I am not politically skilled but I can no longer stem the disquiet that erupts within me when I see the indifference of those in power to the suffering of others and when that power …
I began this newsletter on a glorious warm day in January
and felt the need to reconnect with all of you, not because I had something
important to say but simply because I’ve missed you. Today it is 10 ° F.
Based on the paucity of my newsletters, it is clear that Inspiration
departed and writers block took its place when we moved from our home on Lake
Superior. During the nineteen years we lived within that magical landscape, it
was easy to write. I’m saddened I’ve done such a poor job finding inspiration here. Our new home is delightful. A residence for active seniors
filled with warm and bright people who have become a family. It is a very busy,
lively place. This busy-ness and immediate access to the many amenities offered
by Metropolitan living, has given me an abundance of excuses not to write. When
I was asked to help form a writers’ group here at RosePointe, I found a way out
of my creative lethargy. I can’t sit by and let everyone write but me.
I have several thick red journa…
In 1993, my sixteen-year-old daughter Francesca acquired a
tattoo without telling me. I thought she was simply spending the weekend with a girlfriend when it was actually a mutiny of sorts.
“Fran, what have you
done?” I gasped.
“I knew you’d never give me permission and Kelly was
getting one. So . . .” her voice trailed off but she didn’t drop her eyes.
is it anyway?” She told me it was a rose but it looked more like a dragon to me,
smoking its way toward her knee.
you’ve marked yourself for life?” Francesca nodded, a smile lurking at the edge
of her mouth.
Not long after, Francesca’s older brother Thomas had both his arms tattooed.
At the time it scandalized my relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Twenty
years later not a day passes without my noting young people and even elders flaunting tattoos that extended up arms and legs to the neck and ears.
On February 25, 2016 I gained a greater appreciation of tattoos when an exhibition at the Morikami Museum a…