Mesmerizing changes are taking place before our very eyes, that is, if we take the time to notice. The miracle of new life, always a topic for discussion this time of year, is on display as nature re-dresses herself once again with colors, both muted and vibrant. She occasionally dons her white coat, unexpectedly, just to keep us on our toes.
Minnesota weather is always full of surprises, like snow in May, unpredictable weather in June... Yet, there is also something in the sky, the way the clouds look, the way the sun rises and sets, the stars at night and the dancing of the northern lights that speak of an ancient continuity. One of the special gifts of living here, in the North, is being immersed in this cycle of life. Sometimes there seems to be no beginning and no end. Only an ancient changing of one season to the next, each with its own unique beauty and personality.
Communing with Ancestors
The beginning of summer brings a special delight in Minnesota, as our lakes open and the fishing season officially begins. Our ancient past catches up to the present as we take up the challenge of catching the “big one,” which ironically is usually the one that got away. Long ago, it was for survival that we eagerly fished the lakes after the thaw. Now it’s for pleasure and sometimes for feasting.
Back then, feasting occurred around the communal fires. Shared meals and shared stories were part of the lifeline of the community. After a long day of work, hunting or fishing, preparing the food and cooking over the flames, the people settled into the quiet of the evening, eyes staring into the flames. This time of year, it is not hard to imagine everyone huddled close to the fire for warmth as the voice of one of the elders breaks the silence.
Then and Now
Transporting belongings using some form of toboggan has been part of the history of the North for centuries. Though utilitarian use for wooden sleds has dwindled, the pleasure a well-made toboggan provides continues on. Even our dependence on fire has dwindled to a degree, yet, the pleasure of staring into the flames of a campfire lives on.
This summer, may we all connect with the great past time of fire gazing. While gazing into the flames and letting your imagination take flight, you may faintly hear the voices of the old ones filling the warm breeze. You can see their faces flickering in and out of the dancing campfire flames. The then and the now flow together, our lives and those of our ancestors intertwine, sustained by the cycle of seasons along the spiral of eternity.
See you at the campfire…