Living Up Here
Life in a Lake Superior village
Living Up Here, rambling recollections of life in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, was started in the spring of 2001. Later that year, planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a farm field in Pennsylvania, and life in the United States changed. Things became more complicated. I determined to stay focused on life around here, looking for some continuity and some sanity in this world. Initially, these scribblings were meant for my own eyes, but then in a moment of egomania, I decided to put them into type and print them into a small book, which I eventually named Living Up Here.
The sometimes crazed world we live in should remind us to stay focused on the people dear to our lives and to take pleasure in the gifts we all have. Life is far too short and our desires can consume us, if we let them. We’re blessed with living by the big lake where the forests filter our air, where cars are few and the night sky brilliant.
So what’s in Living Up Here? How about a few samplings?
“Winter descended upon us last Monday. The long Thanksgiving holiday had hardly come to a close and the balmy weather we had been lulled into complacency with all through November ended abruptly.
“The skies opened and heavy, wet snow stilled the land. … some 40-50 mile-per-hour winds out of the northeast accompanied this storm and reports from someone at Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore put waves upwards of 18 feet at that location. … It was a fearsome evening Monday. The snows kept coming and piling on top of the stuff below. The roads clogged up and plows were called back to their garages to resume their labors on the morrow.”
March 5, 2003:
“About this time of year, gentle thoughts of spring air puffing out of the Gulf of Mexico and caressing our souls begin to take root These can be dangerous ideas however, because a northern blow from the bowels of Canada can send us into a sinking depression.”
September 11, 2003:
“Just as I was recovering from the attack of political correctness in our village, I found us under siege again, this time from the federal government. It came in the form of a pleasant young woman from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
“She came up here to protect us!”
(note:This serious young lady was here to test the water quality of Lake Superior and in the process she kept putting up warning signs along the beach telling all who read them that the water posed a serious health hazard.)
“Some of us present questioned her about the testing procedures used. She admitted that the tests could be affected by where she was standing in the lake when she took the sample. For example, she said, if she had moved five feet in either direction, she might have gotten considerably different results. This admission did nothing to reassure us about the scientific quality of her analysis. …’Do you have any idea of the problems you have caused in our village this summer?’ I asked. Then I offered my suggestion that she take her test tubes, return to the university and don’t come back. She’s practicing junk science, I told her.”
Memories of storms, stories about town board meetings, encounters with federal agents, and observations about the night sky and so much more make up Living Up Here. This literary retreat into a slower pace of life in a far northern Wisconsin village might just be a useful antidote for hectic lives. In any case, it’s just plain entertaining besides being a bit of a collector’s item.
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Also check out Letters:A Journey Through Some Correspondence of Michael Coughlin
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