It’s October 9, the date of my dad’s birthday (he would have been 99) and three days after mine (I am now 67), and I am in a wonderful mood of peace and reverie here in our cabin in northern Minnesota. I have just lit a fire and am listening to a lovely harp sonata by Paul Hindemith on MN public radio with my faithful companion Limo resting at my side, and reflecting on all that has happened since my last post. The most interesting part has been the presence of my three best friends. Our “music week” started in the summer of 2002, when both Tom and Ron were able to come at the same time. We managed it again in October 2003, when we recorded enough music to produce our first CD, and have been trying to make it an annual tradition, with varying success, ever since. I invited a fourth friend, Rick, my freshman roommate in college and a wonder on keyboards, in 2007, and he has become an integral part of our musical collaboration. We keep trying to get enough new recording done for a new CD, but circumstances seem to be working against us in accomplishing the project—again this year. I will not try to provide a day-by-day account of our activities, as I would in a formal journal, but rather will strive to cover the highlights of (recording sessions notwithstanding) a most successful and pleasurable week-long reunion.
Rick and Ron flew to Minneapolis, rented a car, and drove up; Tom drove over from northern Wisconsin. I marinated and grilled New York strip steaks on the first evening we were all together (Oct. 1). Over the course of the next week, we ate like kings (thanks to my careful planning and carefully-honed culinary skills) and took full advantage of the wonders to be beheld here in the north woods at every opportunity. These included the
Extended excursions into (I’m not making this up) the Paul Bunyan State Forest, one of its entrances being just a few minutes’ drive from the cabin, providing access to many dozens of miles of unimproved (but very driveable) roads into a vast tract of unbroken natural beauty;
Quiet, reflective strolls along the deer path that parallels our lake shore;
An essential pilgrimage to the headwaters of the Mississippi River where it flows out of
Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park;
And a hike around lovely Buck Lake, deep in the property of the Concordia Language
Villages, where both Squiddy and Batty have established themselves as local legends, first as campers and later as counselors. (I had secretly been hoping for a foggy morning for this, but it’s well worth a visit in any weather—and in any season!)
Thanks to the blessing of the best weather we have ever had at this time of year—mid-70s
to mid-80s during the day with nearly-perfectly clear skies and cool nights—we were able to get out into the greater outdoors, in spite of the massive road construction that was in “progress” on the access road to the cabin (another post on this process will be forthcoming).
As my fire burns down, it’s now after 10 pm, and I’m aglow from savoring and sharing with you my reflections of the treasures I’ve been privileged to experience. During the intervening days, until CD arrives to share another week with me, I’m quite content with filling the alone-time with the inevitable cabin-maintenance projects and the occasional natural photo opportunity. Stay tuned.