Thursday, October 23, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 19 continued

Summer is long past, or so it seems as I look out the window at the fallen leaves blowing around my yard. If the sun comes out and the weather is just right, we might have a few warm days left, but the nights will be just plain cold. There will be frost on the pumpkin each morning.

Yet last week, when I took one of my few last walks around my hometown, even though the temperature was comfortable but certainly not warm, I was reminded of the hot summer days of my youth.

Because we lived in the country, summers were three long months of doing house-work as quickly as we could in the morning and then spending the afternoons and evenings outside, climbing trees, building forts, digging up make-believe treasure chests in the woods. And for me and my sister Pat, it meant very little time spent with other kids our ages.

Except for the Fourth of July. Somehow we always managed to get into town in time for the parade. After the parade, we went to the small carnival at the west end of main street and rode on as many rides as our limited money would buy.  One year I rode the tilt-a-whirl too many times in a row and threw up all over the street. Not my finest hour.

As the afternoon began to wane, Pat, I and whatever friends we were able to connect with would wind our way to Memorial Park for the ski show. Only one time as a kid did I get to sit on the bleachers on the north side of the river, instead we always plopped down on a patch of grass (on a blanket if someone was prepared enough to bring one).

Because I can’t swim, much less waterski, those performers on the water seemed almost magical to me. Then, usually right after intermission, when it was getting dark enough that they turned the lights on over the water, the boat would come barreling down the river towing a skier who was airborne. Strapped into a kite, he flew like a bird above the water, dipping and banking. Then just as he passed in front of the bleachers, he would veer towards the pine tree which leaned out across the river. If he was lucky and knew what he was doing, his skis would shoot between the branches of the tree and he would come out unscathed.

And that, dear friends, is what this stump means to me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 19

If you’ve been following my walks around my hometown, you may be wondering when I am going to call it quits for the season. The answer is any time now. But whenever there is a day where the sun is shining, the temperature is above 50 and I have an extra hour in the day, I am still going to try it.

Here’s a question for all of you Tomahawk natives. Or if you have spent a lot of your summers here, you might know this one too. Where is this stump and what is its significance? I have a childhood story about it, but I am going to save it for next time. Keep you on the edge of your seats. 
 I heard from my best friend from high school this week, which inspired me to walk this street this time.

The trees are still beautiful. The maples have dropped their brilliant red leaves, but the poplars still have their yellow show and the oaks are clinging to their rust-colored leaves.  
And any picture taken across the Wisconsin River is going to be gorgeous on a sunny day. 
 I don’t know how long this house has been abandoned, but it took the newspaper delivery person a while to figure it out.
 I find it interesting that the satellite dish is still there.
 I forget the legal name of this body of land, but our family has always known it as Boy Scout Island (and it’s not really an island).  My son has spent days there, probably more like months, if you string it all together. I think I was out there twice with the Boy Scouts for something. Never spent the night out there in the dead of winter though. (My son is the one who needs to write a blog.)
 That’s Memorial Park across the Wisconsin River. I still can’t believe how still the water was. They say this is the hardest working river in the country, due to the many hydro-electric dams it supports. It looks pretty laid back right here though.
 Anybody reading this live in a big city? I can’t imagine how awful that would be. We are so blessed here in northern Wisconsin. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Psalm 2

Psalm 2

1 Why are the nations so angry?
    Why are the people making such foolish plans?
2 Their kings and leaders join together
    to fight against the Lord and his chosen king.
3 They say, “Let’s rebel against them.
    Let’s break free from them!”
4 But the one who rules in heaven laughs at them.
    The Lord makes fun of them.
5 He speaks to them in anger,
    and it fills them with fear.
6 He says, “I have chosen this man to be king,
    and he will rule on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 Let me tell you about the Lord’s agreement:
He said to me, “Today I have become your father,
    and you are my son.
8 If you ask, I will give you the nations.
    Everyone on earth will be yours.
9 You will rule over them with great power.
    You will scatter your enemies like broken pieces of pottery!”
10 So, kings and rulers, be smart
    and learn this lesson.
11 Serve the Lord with fear and trembling.
12 Show that you are loyal to his son,
    or the Lord will be angry and destroy you.
He is almost angry enough to do that now,
    but those who go to him for protection will be blessed.
(Easy-to-Read Version)

When I decided last week to keep my Sunday blog simple and run through the entire book of Psalms, I had totally forgotten about Psalm number 2. Is there a single world leader out there reading that Psalm this day and thinking, “Oh, my, we need to get it together and turn our lives and our countries over to God and stop being so full of ourselves.” Do you think there is just one out there willing to shake up his or her fellow leaders? Just one king or president or prime minister out there who ‘gets it’? 
This piece of pottery is from the Wari culture of Peru, which is older than the Aztecs. Think of how easy it would be to smash this and how impossible to replace. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Streets of Another City

It feels as if it has been a very long time since I have walked the streets of my hometown and chronicled it here. I guess it has been two weeks; that can be a very long time. The bad news is that I am not chronicling any of our streets tonight either. I have, for a single day, become a traitor. But don’t get too worried right off the bat – I have not become a Vikings fan. Nothing that serious.

I had a meeting for work up the road in Minocqua today. The meeting was supposed to get over around one, so the boss told me I could have the rest of the afternoon off. I was psyched. And since it was a beautiful sunny afternoon (the first one probably since I walked last), I thought I would just wander the streets of Minocqua and see what it had to offer.

In the summer, these streets are packed with tourists. Even winters bring snowmobilers to the area. In the colorful fall, though, there’s not much going on downtown and many of the businesses are closed already for the winter. I think that Otto here is ready to call it a year. 
I don't know what is going on at this place and was too afraid to cross the street to find out. 
I also don't know how politically correct these are anymore. When I was a kid every tourist town had a store filled with cheap bead-work, made in China but touted as "Indian".

 The view from Torpy Park is beautiful in any season.

 According to Wikipedia, the town gets its name from "Ninocqua", the Ojibwe name that means "noon-day-rest”. I don’t know about that. I always thought it had something to do with water thanks to the “qua” (which is almost aqua, which everyone knows is water). Let me know if you have thoughts on the name.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Psalm 1

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the one who obeys the law of the Lord.
    He doesn’t follow the advice of evil people.
He doesn’t make a habit of doing what sinners do.
    He doesn’t join those who make fun of the Lord and his law.
2 Instead, he takes delight in the law of the Lord.
    He thinks about his law day and night.
3 He is like a tree that is planted near a stream of water.
    It always bears its fruit at the right time.
Its leaves don’t dry up.
    Everything godly people do turns out well. 
(New International Reader's Version)
I know that I have whined about this in the past, but I mean it this time. I AM SO BUSY! Yes, I know I do this to myself, and I know that sometimes I need to sit back and ask, “Lord, is this really what You want me to be doing?” He really does occasionally say to me, “No, Christine, this is not what I want you to be doing.” But in general, I get the feeling that He wants me to figure out my own boundaries.

So here is my boundary through the end of the year – Keep It Simple! Which means, taking all the beautiful Bible verses I run across and just posting them here, without spending two hours writing witty commentary. God’s got it all covered. There really isn’t much for me to add anyway. 

(The picture is of the swamp in my yard. It never has water in it by the end of summer, which is an indication of how wet our summer has been. It also doesn't have any trees bearing fruit along its banks. But remember, I'm not dwelling on this, just pulling up the picture that is closest at hand which has some sort of relevance.) 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Life? When is my life ever still?

This month's personal photo challenge was "still life". Since I wasn't able to get it together for last month's challenge of "motion", I committed myself to get this one right.

The thing is when someone mentions a "still life", our minds all go to bowls of fruit and vases of flowers, all inside a building where the lighting can be controlled. Well, the weather here was outstanding a few weeks ago and I wasn't about to work on anything inside which I could take outside.

My first inspiration was this leaf which was resting on this fence post. I didn't do any manipulating to get it there, I just stumbled upon it while walking down a trail.
But maybe a few more leaves needed a little bit of help to get in the right position.
And finally I even was able to work in the shadow aspect.
I don't know if I nailed this challenge, but you're not dragging me in the house til the snow flies.

Monday, October 6, 2014

From Wisconsin to India

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace.

Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.

Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

Crooked Lines, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.

I could relate to Rebecca, and not just because we are both from Wisconsin. Ever since I read “Joy in the Morning” (I couldn’t find the name of the author) as a kid, I too had thought about India and was fascinated by it. That’s not where I ended up. God decided to send me to Kenya instead, but I have never completely forgotten India.  

But back to Holly’s book. I couldn’t put it down. Rebecca and Sagai, each in their opposite worlds, ran into so many obstacles. I just wanted one of them to at least achieve their dreams, but in the end, God has it covered. We always do realize our dreams, and I can’t say any more than that without ruining the ending for you.

 If you have ever struggled in your relationships with others, if you have ever felt abandoned, or if you have ever wanted to travel to the exotic land of India, this is a must-read.