What Should I Do?

30  bar rises 30.00  1mph  windchill 28   Samhain

Waning Gibbous Dark Moon

Kate is my wife, friend and partner.  I had a conversation with her this morning.

“Kate,” I said, “I want to do something substantial before I shuffle off this mortal coil. (Dad used that phrase a lot.  I don’t  know where he got it.)”

She smiled and waited, her face turned a bit up to ease the strain on her neck.

“It’s not that I don’t like my life and what I do with it.  I enjoy diverse things that require different skills.  I’ve accepted that’s the life likely to be lead by a valedictorian.  Good at many things, deep in none.  Still.  I’d like to work on and complete a substantial writing project.”

“What’s your question?” she asked.

“What should I do?” She’s good at answering questions like this.  Most people are not, but I trust her and have trusted on these matters for years.

“Lake Superior.  That’s the first thing that popped into my mind,”  she said, “We could have monthly Lake Superior meetings.  Get a large paper pad and work on the project at least once a month.  We could make a point of going once or twice a year to different parts of the (true) north shore and  pay close attention to it for a week or so.”

“Thanks,” I said, “That’s what I needed.  Now I’m going to go get groceries.”

On the drive over I considered her suggestion.  It was a good one.  We could work on it as partners.  I have a shelf full of books and two large file drawers filled with information on Lake Superior.

A few years ago I started in earnest on an ecological history of Lake Superior.  I made three trip around the lake, visiting local historical societies as I went, purchasing books and making notes.  Taking picture.  I made notes, created an outline and a research plan, dug up many good websites.  I still have all this material.

I may have stalled the first time around because I’d made my objective both too specific and inflexible.  Lake Superior as myth, as geological feature, as water, as story, as an expression of a coming zeitgeist are all rich avenues to explore.  Painting, music, lore.  Some mix of these, positioning Lake Superior at the heart of the continent and the center of a worldview.  Something along those lines.

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