Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

My First Walk

toddling baby steps

my first walk around the lake

even old women are faster

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I just finished watching “The Fault In Our Stars”, a great tearjerker about love, eulogies, etc.

It made me think of what I would say if I wrote my eulogy, and I realize that anything one says or writes, is a part of their eulogy.

I think part of my eulogy would be an apology. Because I can come across as hard and unyielding in the moment, when I know that my intentions are good. And that’s because of pride. Pride is such a defense mechanism, a flawed way of protecting yourself. It is a dis-ease, a dis-ability. It’s a way of hiding vulnerability in the moment. Of not being in the moment. Or perhaps of being someone you don’t want to be in that moment; when the moment is all we have, and that most important moment involves people.

Humility on the other hand, is being vulnerable in the moment, open to the moment and flexible in relation to all of its possibilities. That’s the funny thing about being vulnerable. I don’t know if it’s something that you can spontaneously feel in the moment once you have reached a certain level of awareness. It is only something that you can practice.

It’s like patience. I don’t consider myself a patient person though some other people may, I don’t know if patience will ever feel natural. I think it is something you can only practice. I only know that to date, I do not comprehend the feeling of patience. But with practice ( like choosing to wait in the longest grocery line) patience is becoming second nature. I don’t have to think about it. Perhaps when one reaches a certain level of awareness, anything/everything becomes second nature.

The point being that for me,

humility in the moment ,

is an intermittent short in the wiring.

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Cream of Chicken

and wild rice soup

from Panera.


Nothing better for breakfast.

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In Anishinabe it would be…Mino Noos Giizhigad

Mē·nō Nūs Gē·zhē·gŭd: Happy (My) Father’s Day!


Dear Dad,

You would have been 90, and still going strong today, if you hadn’t smoked.


your son.


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The family lives on Copper City Road. It was so named because its people had their own stills to make their own beer during prohibition.

It’s about a half mile from the family home  to the main road on the West. And only a couple of blocks from there to where I turn off left to head toward String o’ lakes [Chain O’ Lakes].

The road is sandy and about 24 feet wide. As I look down it, the trees already start to crowd the sides. It’s a little wash-boardy.
I travel past stands of Norway Pine and houses about every three acres. Two thirds of these weren’t here last time I went through a couple of years ago. This stretch is intersected by a right of way which has wooden poles with electric lines draped over them, running through it.

After I travel another quarter mile, I reach the gravel pit which once was a dump ground before they cleaned it up.  My brother and I used to plink pop cans and glass bottles every once in a while here.

The road divides into three at this point. One straight ahead, one to the left and one to the right. I pick the one straight ahead. There are no more houses and just like that,  it is like the last 75 years have never happened.

Just beyond the gravel pit the middle road narrows to about 12 feet wide. A few tufts of grass appear in the middle of it.  Now it is better described as two well used tire lanes, and the trees–Poplars mostly–make it appear even more narrow.

A few yards in, and the trees overhead shade the road. It’s lost its wash board quality but has a lot of dips and hillocks.  It’s curvy and I’m definitely “in the woods”.

The trees are so thick that I can’t see further than fifty feet on each side. I see an occasional rotted, aged stump where this was logged a while ago. I encounter a couple of dried mud holes along the way.

When I come to the next fork, the road changes again. Now there are two distinct paths separated by about three feet of grass that while sparse, is solid. 25 More years have been erased.

I’m driving about 5 miles per hour to take it easy on Chuck’s suspension. I drive past a stretch where the trees have mostly been cut, but a few have been left to -seed the area. The truck is creaking, rocking up and down and left and right, and a rare branch hits the antenna.

I go past the long hill down to, and over the little creek for which we have been named (Jacob Littlecreek, Granpa’s Granpa, was “The Man who lives by a Little Creek that dries up after the spring”. Littlecreek That name was shortened to “Littlecreek”) and have gone past a couple of mud holes which were so big,  I had to drive up on the side of the road to get past. I then have to drive up a long hill which is on the other side of the creek.

On the other side of this hill, I come to another clearing where there is active logging going on . They are harvesting Norway Pine for fence posts.


A small cardboard box sits in the middle of the road next to a pile of logs. As if warning me that I must be careful if I go beyond.

One hundred feet beyond this, the road branches again, and another hundred years drops away. I take the road that goes to String O’ Lakes to the left. The road straight ahead will become impassible due to a number of huge mud holes that have existed there for generations.

The wheel ruts transform to about a foot wide each with about 4 feet of grass in between. Small birch trees appear. I encounter mud holes that have been here for 50 years, and after these I can only see patches of ground with the road grass with tall weeds springing up in the middle. Trees and bushes encroach enough so that they occasionally brush along the side of the pickup.

I’m traveling one or two miles an hour now. About the speed the teams of horses and drays moved when men cut the timber with hand saws and loaded it by hand as well.

More ruts, just impressions in the earth covered by cabbage weed and grass, painted by alternating bands of shadow and dappled sunlight.

We’ve reached the part where my dad and I were probably the last people to log in here. There is a hill which is easy to go down but upon returning we must race up it in order to go over it again. Trees regularly scrape against the sides, top and bottom of the truck, whistling and screeching. I have to close the driver’s side window so I don’t get whipped in the face.

I scare up a partridge which had been walking on the road.
I round the last corner to the landing. Just a space to turn around, really. A path to portage a canoe down the hill to the first lake, and the overgrown remains of a road on which we used to drive up a hill to get to the place where dad wanted to build a house overlooking the lakes.

I turn off the truck and get out.

I can see the clearing where the  beaver dam is. No more evidence of people.

This lake is pristine.

first LakeIt has Lilly pads, rushes, and cat-tails on its sides.

SentinelsEven In the distance I see the bare trunks of Tamaracks standing sentinel between this first lake and the second, witnessing the fact that they wanted to be close to the water but drowned in it when the water levels got too high one year.

The only thing I can hear is the “tock tock tock” of a partridge nearby, and the barely discernible small distant sound of the wind. I have been transported to a timeless place.

I am truly home.

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Oh, you ask, what is the council of the maji manidoog?

Up to this point, I have been mentioning what Maji Manidoo has been saying in the council, but perhaps I have been getting ahead of myself.

In the old days, the most powerful evil manidoos were chosen for their apparent strength. But nowadays what was needed to distract The People, was strength plus insidiousness-or the ability to go undetected until it was too late. Therefore maji manido called his council together as an orientation session for the members who had come to prominence. They were:

Ezigaa¹, Oojii², Zagime³, Aakoziwi-manidozhens4, Ishkodewaaboo5, Asemaa6, Maji-mashkiki7, and Bishigwadis8.

Keep in mind, that while each may have been named for a different thing, they were spirits just like you and me, and just like you and me, many had the same name as the others.

Each had their own specialty to offer, and they often worked together to torment the Anishinabeg in creatively fiendish ways.


  1. Ezigaa  (ā·zĭ·găˊ)    Wood-tick
  2. Oojii     (ō·jēˊ)          Fly
  3. Zagime (să·gĭ·māˊ) Mosquito [They are many]
  4. Aakoziwi-manidozhens (ă·kō·zē·wē-mă·nē·do·zhānsˊ) Virus [Little spirit of illness]
  5. Ishkodewaaboo (ĭsh·kō·dāˊ·wă·booˊ) Alcohol
  6. Asemaa (ă·sā·măˊ) Tobacco
  7. Maji-mashkiki (mă·jĭˊ·măsh·kēˊ·kē) Street Drugs [Bad Medicine]
  8. Bishigwadis (bĭ·shē·gwăˊ·dĭs) Promiscuity/Impurity/Foolishness [+nin= I am promiscuous, etc.]

*My apologies for the loose translation

**My thanks to the people who wrote:

“The Ojibwe Medical Dictionary”
The Yahoo Forum “Ojibwe Language Society Miinawaa”
“A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe”
“Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language”
“The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary”.

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The Bagwajiwininiwug  have always advocated that seven smaller meals a day were better for your health, rather than the typical 3 huge meals that most of The Anishinabeg eat.  Their larger European counterparts, called “Hobbits”, describe these meals in  “The Lord of the Rings” as:

1st Breakfast
2nd Breakfast


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