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Summer Days and Nights
One early spring morning in Wisconsin, a luna moth pupa wiggles. It had spent all winter camouflaged in the leaf litter and its ability to wiggle scared off several predators, including several mice. Now that its metamorphosis is complete, the adult moth uses the serrated spurs near the front edge of its wings to split open its cocoon. Wet and tired, the male luna moth emerges. Mr. Moth spends the day resting and letting his wings dry. He will not eat and must rely on his store of fat from his caterpillar stage. Adult luna moths only have about a…
Nature’s Quaking Trampoline
My five and seven-year-old grandsons take me out for a paddle boat ride on our cabin’s northern Wisconsin lake. The five-year-old spies a neighbor’s blown-up orange and yellow plastic raft that is also a trampoline. “Can we bounce on that?” he asks. I have to explain that it isn’t ours and tell him no. His near tears tug at my heart. “What we can do, though,” I say, “is bounce around on quaking bogs.” “On what?” the seven-year-old asks. I tell them about the springiness of a bog mat, the sponginess of sphagnum moss, and our chances of seeing wildlife…
The Power of Story
“The tooth must be extracted,” my dentist said, “and because of how the roots are way up in the sinuses and its location, it will be complicated. I’m referring you to the oral surgeon.” I was in pain and when I called to make the appointment, I couldn’t get in for several weeks. I wanted to get this done and get on with my life. I didn’t sleep well the night before the extraction. The word “complicated” kept haunting me. A friend of mine had an oral surgeon remove a tooth and ended up with a broken jaw. Another friend…
Celebrating Small Things in a Great Way
Celebrating Small Things in a Great Way “If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way. Don’t wait for great opportunities. Seize common, everyday ones.” Self-help author Napolean Hill My daughter calls me from our northern Wisconsin cabin. “I can’t believe it,” she says, all excited. “Right now, swimming near shore, there are six adult geese, eleven goslings, three mallards, a hen wood duck with four babies, and the goose with the slight limp we think is Gertie. Without you, we wouldn’t be seeing any of this.” Without me? I suddenly realize that my raising and…
The Complicated Fox
You know those complicated relationships where you can both admire and detest someone? Feel anger but also sympathy; sadness but also amusement?  I have one of those roller coaster relationships with the fox. As a youngster, I hunted rabbits with my dad. One wintry morning, a brilliant red fox crossed my path. I still recall the contrast of that brilliant fur against the glistening snow. It was so stunningly beautiful, I froze in place. When I told my father about it later, he said, “You should have shot it.” At that time prime fox pelts were worth quite a bit…
Dig In!
It happened four years ago when my husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by whitewater rafting in the Menominee River. “Dig in!” The command came from James, our whitewater rafting guide. Our inflatable rubber boat was nearing Hell’s Hole, a Class IV rapids with a five-foot drop.  The Menominee River had swollen after recent rains and James’s six inexperienced rafters needed all the direction he could give if we were to survive Hell’s Hole. We wore helmets, life jackets, and we had our toes jammed under the air tube in front of us. Pinning our feet would hopefully…
Swapping Stories
Holidays such as Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be sad ones for those of us who have lost our grandparents and parents. If you have siblings, it can help to talk to them. My brother Jeff and I were visiting on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. I had the phone on speaker as I strolled around my backyard. I described the brightly colored pots I’d painted and the lush water garden. “It’s looking real purdy around here,” I said. I blinked. Time slowed down. I was instantly back at my Grandma’s kitchen table hearing her, my…
Slowing Down Time
We’re at the brink of summer, and I fear in September we’ll lament, “It went so fast.” If only we could slow down time. But how do we slow down time? Researchers have found these four things help: have new experiences, feel productive by setting goals and working to achieve them, be fully engaged in your activities, and keep a journal. I’ve successfully pulled off the first three, but although I’ve tried nightly journaling, I’ve never stuck with it. Until now. Three weeks ago I started a form of journalling which Matthew Dick, an author and  Moth StorySLAM champion, calls “Homework…
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