Thursday, August 16, 2007

Field Notes

I'm motivated to write by my emotions, not fact or accuracy.  So please forgive me if I've sacrificed verity for a juicier story. I'm not fibbing. I'm simply sharing my truth as it feels. Enjoy my anecdotes for what they are, the big messy puddle I so enjoy wallowing in. Come on in, the water's fine!

The more time I find for my favorite leisures, the more grounded I become. I'm amazed and impressed with my ability and desire to do little and, consequently, more.

I spend a lot of time in the wilderness. Each day I take time to hike close to home or camp. But I won't carry a notebook or notepad with me. I’ll leave one on the house or cabin table, one by my bed, one on the kitchen counter, one in the car, even one in the outhouse at camp. But I won't carry one, no matter how small. My policy for my daily hikes is, if it does not fit in a pocket, I don't take it with me.

Oh, I know all about field notes. They are the notations those more diligent than me take to accurately chronicle a rare or unusual thing or event as it occurs in the field, getting as much of the description as possible at the spot of the sighting. Many field notes feature sketches or photographs with written detail. Some field notes include an opinion or interpretation by the observer. “Proper” field notes can be used as evidence and become part of history.

But I've come to live with the fact that I'm probably less than accurate when I relate a sighting or an event in my life. By the time I get back to paper and pen, sometimes hours, sometimes days, my emotions about the sighting have taken hold. I'm unable to distinguish the facts of the event from my emotionally-triggered imaginings.

Does this mean that much of my recalled life, while not total fiction, is liberally spiced up? Probably. My field notes are unreliable. But I would challenge that we're not accurate about anything we observe when we leave out the emotional impact that observation has on us.
So in the final stretch of sweet, sweet summer, before autumn envelopes us, throw away your notebooks, allow your emotions to run wild and imagine BIG.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~Albert Einstein

"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~Rumi

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Drought

It's August and I'm stunned to feel my clothes getting a little tighter. But surly I'm not putting on my winter layer of insulation already. I must be having a highly sensitive month. One of the constants in our lives that, due to my sensitivity, seems to have a profound effect on me is the weather. So until it rains here in Northern Michigan, which it has not done in over a month, I'm just retaining water. My body is simply responding to this dry spell by becoming the camel.
Yeah, right! Pass the marshmallows, please.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's Not Fair

I can't believe that on August 5, our regional fair began. It's not right! Growing up in this area, my recollection of the fair was that of the autumn bounty and harvest. That people and animals were comforted by the cool, crisp days and nights at the fairgrounds. We wore a sweater when we went over for evening dinner. Today, the fair near my home is experiencing drought conditions and record heat. I have not visited yet and I hope for rain before I roam the grounds to choke on the dust.

I expect this is all about money. The fair has become another summer attraction for the many tourists who flock to Northern Michigan. In the days of my youth, the fair was a time to celebrate the end of sumer and that hectic tourist season. It was a time to visit with neighbors and take advantage of the delicious meals the local churches cooked up each evening. Each church had their specialty dinner and over the course of the week I could taste them all.

Did I mention that I could ride my bike to the fair? And that a pass for the week was a reasonable way to enjoy meeting my friends and taking in all the different activities each evening? Today I must drive to the outskirts of town and wait in line to be directed to my parking spot in a dirty, dusty field. I can only afford to visit one day so I miss many of the activities that are spread out over the course of the week.

And dinner at today's fair is carnival food. Oh, I enjoy a good corn dog and Gibby's French Fries once in awhile. But it's a far cry from the fried chicken, hot roast beef sandwiches, fried fish, homemade pies, real mashed potatoes, locally-grown and harvested vegetables and local dairy milk that I enjoyed each night at the fair of my youth.