Friday, November 30, 2012

Land of 10,000? 9,999? 9,998? 9,997?

photo of Missippi River headland near Lake City MN
© harrington
Lake Pepin is disappearing from the bottom up, as it fills in with excessive sediment that belongs on farm fields. DNR is being sued for allegedly permitting the withdrawal of too much groundwater from the Jordan and Prairie du Chien aquifer, causing White Bear Lake to disappear from the top down or, more accurately, the edges in. Minnesota's impaired waters list is growing because a number of rivers and lakes can't support wild rice growth.  My Minnesota is a water rich state. Perhaps that's been the problem. We haven't been good stewards of our resources because there seemed to be more than enough to go around. I worked on protecting and improving water quality for many years. The issue then, as now, it seems to me is that we keep thinking there really is a free lunch and someone else will get more of it than we will. Washington isn't the only part of the country suffering from gridlock (iced in?). The Clean Water act Amendments of 1972 became law 40 years ago. Although we've made much progress in reaching the goals of "fishable, swimmable" water, it becomes increasingly clear to me that we haven't begun to do enough. There could, and should, be much more emphasis on resource conservation, especially water conservation. These days I'm working on environmental protection through green building. The technology is there and relatively inexpensive to reduce water and energy consumption. It seems we'd rather spend out money on granite counter tops. In My Minnesota, we can and should be wiser than that. Only magpies and pack rats are easily distracted by bright shiny objects. Look again at the photo above. Isn't it too valuable to lose through selfish indifference?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prairie paen

picture of cover of Letters to a Young Madman by Paul Gruchow
One of the Twin Cities' newspapers had a long article yesterday about Paul Gruchow and his recently published memoir, Letter to a Young Madman. I've read most, if not all, of his previous work: Journal of a Prairie Year, The Necessity of Empty Places, Boundary Waters, Worlds Within a World and Grass Roots. At the time I was reading his words, which magically brought me once again emotionally close to so many of the places that I love, I wasn't aware of Paul's demons and the way he would eventually lose his struggles with them. I was, however, able to grow increasingly envious of his ability to write the way I wished I could. He always seemed to have an amazing ability to be anchored in place, often a prairie place. I still remember skating the line between wishing I could write like Paul and wishing I were Paul so I could learn from the inside how he did it. It was only a little bit later I learned he tragically had taken his own life. Paul is among a handful of writers who have inspired me to try to emulate writing about places in My Minnesota and how special they are. I am, and always will be, in his debt. I'm looking forward to reading his memoir to learn more about how to live graciously under duress. Last spring, I finished a suite of poems, dedicated to Paul, about prairie grasses. They turned out well enough that they were winners in the Prairie Sampler contest for which I had written them. Thanks, Paul. I couldn't have done it without you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas geese

photo of a flock f flying waterfowl
© harrington
Today, on my drive home from work, I got an early Christmas present. For 5 minutes or more, as I approached Forest Lake, the sky was filled with flock after flock after flock of Canada geese. (They would be Canadian geese if, and only if, I knew they came from north of the border of My Minnesota.)  Seeing them made my heart soar. The marshes and smaller ponds have frozen. Larger water bodies, like Forest Lake, are open, for now. There is still food in the harvested fields. The geese will be here for at least a while longer, and I may get other thrills seeing that many of them trading north, west, east and south in flocks large and small. Years ago I hunted geese at Lac qui Parle. Seeing and hearing 60,000 to 80,000 geese all at once was a phenomena. I've also been lucky enough to be driving through the southwestern regions of My Minnesota when the flocks of geese decided it was time to head south and filled the sky most of the afternoon. Aldo Leopold, in Goose Music, wrote But to those whose hearts are stirred by the sound of whistling wings and quacking mallards, wildlife is something even more than this. It is not merely an acquired taste; the instinct that finds delight in the sight and pursuit of game is bred into the very fiber of the race. I am one of those for whom wildlife is not merely an acquired taste. My Minnesota is home not only to wildlife but to many who share my love for wild creatures and places. I hope your Christmas season is filled with whatever brings you as much pleasure, for as little cost, as today's geese vision brought me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Well bread Minnesotans

photo of bread cloche, bread baked in it and bread recipe book
© harrington
There are numerous numinous artisans in My Minnesota. Some of them are extraordinary bakers who have created the likes of St. Agnes Baking Co., French Meadow bakery and others centered around the Twin Cities.  I live on the western (Twin Cities) edge of the St. Croix watershed. This puts me within reach of an astounding number of potters who throw, fire and sell their creations in the St. Croix valley. The bread cloche in the photo is one of many pieces we've acquired from Guillermo Cuellar. The loaf of bread came from the cloche using the recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and parchment paper to line the bottom of the cloche. As we enter the holiday season and approach the Winter Solstice, we also inhabit the season of soups, chowders, stews and artisan bread (home made strongly preferred). In My Minnesota, working at living an artisan life is a rewarding way to live and let live. Cold hands, warm heart, fresh bread, hot stew, good life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Slippery slope

photo of a field in spring
© harrington
This picture is what my back yard looks like in the Spring. It looks to me as if it could be one of the better places in My Minnesota to raise chickens. Lots of grass produces lots of ticks which, when not collected by one of the houses canine companions, could be eaten by chickens. I know that chickens, when not being free range, live in chicken coops. It seems to me that a decent coop should be adequate protection for my flock-to-be from the neighborhood coyote pack and the stray fox or raccoon. However, we also have black bears in the neighborhood. I doubt that any coop I could buy or build is likely to protect the flock-to-be from the menu of a hungry bear come Spring, before the local blackberries and wild strawberries are available. So then the choice seems to be adding one or more dogs, of the guardian more than companion variety to protect the flock-to-be. Or, maybe a lama or two which should work on the coyotes but I'm not so sure if they serve as bear repellants. And would either guardian dogs or lamas be a solution that would protect an apiary, should one of those become one of the delights of rural living. In My Minnesota, urban farmers don't know how good they've got it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creative corners

photo of WA Frost and Nina's/Subtext at Selby and Western St. Paul
Frost's and Nina's/Subtext

photo of Nina's/Subtex and College of Visual Arts at Selby and Western St. Paul
Nina's/Subtext and College of Visual Arts

photo of College of Visual Arts and YWCA at Selby and Western St. Paul
College of Visual Arts and YWCA
Creativity has been a notable element in the life and economy of My Minnesota. The photos (all © harrington) above are of the corners of Western and Selby in St. Paul. Nina's is a coffee house par excellence with displays by local artists, and incorporating overflow space in the lower level at Subtext, the bookstore that is the successor to Common Good Books which has headed to the environs of Snelling and Grand. On any given day, I'm likely to be found at or near one of these establishments. Nina's keeps track of writers creating on the premises and offers live entertainment from time to time. Subtext hosts author readings. The College of Visual Arts, in addition to providing numerous guests to Nina's, offers a 4-year BFA in drawing, painting, printmaking, or sculpture. The YWCA, eliminating racism, empowering women, has a useful computer lab in addition to the expected pool and exercise equipment. Based on personal experience, I've found their staff to be professional and extremely helpful. Finally, there's WA Frost and Company, a tradition for summer patio eating and a welcome member of the locally sourced food contingent. This combination of food for your mind, body, heart and soul may be unsurpassed by any other neighborhood intersection in the Twin Cities. Nominate your contenders in the comments section.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Main Street Musings

photo of a small town Minnesota Main Street
© harrington
Small Business Saturday on Main Streets throughout My Minnesota is a lot more pleasant shopping and buying occurrence than can be found in a Big Box Black Friday. Most of the time, when I shop in a Big Box, I experience  only a transaction: do they have what I want; is the price low enough; are the lines short enough; is the oversized parking lot full? On Main Street, I'm much more likely to begin, or continue, a relationship: here's an example of what I need, what do you have like it; can you suggest an alternative, a better way, to meet my needs or fulfill my desires? On Main Street, I stroll sidewalks which, crowded or not, I prefer to crowded big box aisles. Today, to get the decorative elements for a gingerbread house project, I found myself in not one, but two distinctly different candy stores on a nearby Main Street. Each had a distinct personality, selection of confections and, although both had friendly people behind the counter, in one store they went out of their way to be helpful. One of the elements of My Minnesota that I most value is community. One of the elements of community is supporting local businesses. If Main Street stores aren't there, neither is Main Street. As Main Street goes, so goes the community. How many vacant big box grayfields need to undergo restorative development in your neighborhood?

Friday, November 23, 2012

White Friday

photo of a pair of swans in a winter marsh
© harrington
Thanksgiving left on the shoulders of a howling Northwest wind, accompanied by enough light snow to coat the fields and roads. We had been planning a trip to Brownsville to take a look at the habitat restoration islands project recently complete in Pool 8. This type of project is one of the ways I like to see my tax dollars at work in My Minnesota. The Mississippi backwaters have long been known for their attractiveness to waterfowl. A couple of weeks ago there were reported to be about 7,500 trumpeter swans in Pool 8. The storm may offer them a helpful tail wind since its about the time of year for them to move on. We'll make the trip another year. A "recreational" drive of several hours through snow flurries and thirty-plus mph winds has about as much appeal to me as standing for hours in a Black Friday lemming-line to "save money" that I can spend on something, anything, else I don't really need (said the writer/reader/book lover who's slowly driving his family out of their house with his accumulating stacks of books and bookcases, all of which he "needs"). Meanwhile, I'll try to celebrate "Buy Nothing" day and look forward to shopping at some of the local independents who offer coffee and treats to their customers at this time of year. Big Box Black Friday now makes me think of a paraphrase of Ross Perot's line about "that sucking sound you hear is the profits leaving your community."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Raptors rule

picture of the State of the River cover (Metro segment Mississippi River) 

Driving north on 35E yesterday afternoon on my way home from work,  near the Hugo-Forest Lake border,  I noticed two bald eagles perched near the top of a bare tree on the east side of the road. One or both are probably the same eagles I've seen soaring over the roadway and fields in the same general area from time to time this year. The sight reminded me of something I learned at a recent State of the River event I attended. Along the Mississippi River as it passes through the Twin Cities metro area there are about 36 active bald eagle nests, compared to about 1,300 in Minnesota and only 400 or so in the early 1960's. That's 36 active bald eagle nests in the middle of a metropolitan area. Christopher Alexander, in his book Pattern Language, proposes the pattern "fingers of country in the city." Although we have more than enough low density development displacing farmland in much of the metro area, we must also be doing somethings right to support that many eagles. It gets better when we include the nesting ospreys and peregrine falcons in Ramsey County, home to St. Paul, the state capitol. In My Minnesota, raptors rule.

Thanksgiving memories

photo of small pond and autumn foliage
© harrington
Yesterday's expedition for this year's Christmas book was exceptionally successful. We returned with two choice reads, Donald Hall's Christmas at Eagle Pond, a nod to my New England origins, and Richard Paul Evans classic The Christmas Box. This Thanksgiving week, as I've been pondering what I'm grateful for, it slowly occurred to me that I'm most grateful for connections to people, places and values I care about. The photo above was taken just down a gravel road that runs in front of my house. Its beauty helps me connect to the place I live, My Minnesota. I'm thankful that those I care most about weren't washed out by Sandy. I don't know of any way to collect on insurance against the loss of memories connected to where you grew up or raised a family or took family vacations or worked for years and years. You can move on and rebuild, but the connections to your history, your memories, are broken and lost. This Thanksgiving, I'm most thankful for my memories and my dreams and living in My Minnesota with those who share them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


photo of exterior of Dayton House at Christmas
© harrington
Several years ago I had the pleasure of spending time in Worthington during the holiday season. I stayed at the historic Dayton House. I'll make it a tradition to stay there again, should I ever again need to  overnight in that area. One of the pleasures of the season in My Minnesota is following family traditions to help celebrate giving thanks, sharing religious and cultural holidays (including Solstice for us druids), and renewing and restoring memories. Historic preservation, in all its many forms, is a worthwhile alternative to always seeking the newest, biggest, most improved. In My Minnesota, we try to measure value as much with our hearts as with our heads. Soon my wife, daughter, her significant other and I will head off to local bookstores, one a national chain, several independents (another aspect of My Minnesota for which I'm perpetually grateful), to start this year's episode of a family tradition begun many years ago, finding, taking home and reading the "Christmas book." Its sort of like a literary Christmas tree hunt. The book has to capture the spirit of Christmas/Chanukah/Solstice/Kwanza from the perspective of those of us who live in My Minnesota. Recent years have seen additions to our library from Carol Bly and Bill Holm. Enjoy the season. Build your traditions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude III

photo of a street with a sense of enclosure
© harrington
This morning I'll be participating in a meeting of the board of the US Green Building Council-Minnesota Chapter. One of the many things for which I'm grateful is that My Minnesota has one of the most active and dedicated chapters in the organization. USGBC are the folks who brought us "green building" and sustainable development through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). One of the less used, but I think more promising, LEED rating systems is for Neighborhood Development (ND). Many of the other systems (except LEED for Homes) focus largely on the design, construction and operation of the individual building or project. But, as we learn more about reducing energy consumption and how many people actually want to live in walkable neighborhoods, we're discovering that often it takes as much or more energy to get inhabitants to their destination as it does to keep them comfortable and healthy once they're inside. LEED-ND is one way to get a handle on that king of concern. I have some quibbles with the criteria in LEED-ND and how well they may fit with rural centers, many of whom also want to be known as being "green and sustainabe." That's one of the reasons I'll be at the board meeting. The Minnesota chapter is prioritizing a collaborative "Dynamic Green Approach" to engaging communities, schools and the governmental sector. I'm excited about that approach because My Minnesota certainly doesn't have one size or shade of green that fits all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude II

photo of autumn foliage of pines, oaks, tamaracks, meadow
To continue on this Thanksgiving's week theme of gratitude, I'm grateful that, in 2008, my fellow Minnesotan's enacted the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment to the state's constitution, adding three-eighths of one percent to the state's sales tax to protect and preserve Minnesota's natural and cultural resources. At the time, there was concern expressed by some about the combination of "hook and bullet" with ballet types and interests. In My Minnesota, life's quality comes from living in sustainable communities set in magnificent natural environments and enjoying literary, graphic, performance and other artistic activities necessary to add value to a sustainable life. I'm grateful that increasing numbers of Minnesotans are recognizing that economy versus environment is a false dichotomy. Conservative (read efficient and effective) use of natural resources makes business more competitive in a global economy. Business externalities often turn out to be social costs the rest of us must pay for. I heard a chamber of commerce leader on the radio yesterday note that "any increased tax (cost) to business will be passed on the the customer." I'd rather see those who buy the product pay those costs than have to subsidize them through publicly paid clean-up costs. I'm becoming convinced that the best way to protect My Minnesota's natural resources is by creating great communities where we want to live and great businesses where we want to work. I'm grateful especially to those who are leading the way there.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


photo of a flock of turkeys in a meadow
© harrington
This is the Sunday of the beginning of Thanksgiving week. That's a flock of wild turkeys in the photo. When I first moved to Minnesota, sights like this were rare. I was lucky enough over several years to draw some of the first permits available to hunt the re-introduced birds. They were located mostly in the southeast bluff country. The flock above lives north of the Twin Cities. In recent years I've seen smaller flocks along University Avenue in St. Paul. One of the things I'm grateful for is that My Minnesota has been as successful as it has in returning this magnificent bird to its previous range. In "A Sand County Almanac" Aldo Leopold wrote something that pretty well captures my feelings: "There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.

These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. The whole conflict thus boils down to question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress, our opponents do not."
During this week, and for the rest of your years, I hope you have enough thanks to give for the wild and natural elements of My Minnesota to help protect it from unwise and unnecessary development.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Winter reading

photo of Duluth, MN from the harbor
This past week, the National Book Award winners were announced. Two Minnesota authors were among the winners. Since the announcement, there has been some local discussion about My Minnesota's literary culture and philanthropic support for the arts in this part of the world sometimes referred to as "flyover country." Part of that discussion has focused on the Loft, which has been mentioned here before, and the long, cold winters, which have only been alluded to previously. Duluth is among My Minnesota's leaders for the length and depth of its winters. That may help account for the number of above average poets found in the area. As far as I know, the Loft doesn't have an outpost in Duluth, although there is At Sarah's Table at Cascade Creek where several writing groups have been known to meet. I can't speak personally about the frequency with which Duluth poets Connie Wanek and Louis Jenkins are seen there but my hopes climb each time I stop by for a meal when I'm in Duluth. Jim Johnson, who writes poems about Finnish settlers, wolves, dovetailed corners and co-ops among other elements of northern Minnesota culture, comes from Cloquet, Duluth's next door neighbor. I discovered these wonderful writer's, and others, in the regional section of the (now closed) Northern Lights Books in Canal Park. I attended a session with Bart Sutter, Duluth's former poet laureate at a Loft event. I wish more local, independent bookstores would develop and maintain regional sections that included poetry and poets. That seems to be one of the few elements missing from My Minnesota. Maybe it has to do with the Midwest/Scandinavian aversion to calling attention to oneself. It certainly isn't because we don't have treasures worth promoting.

Friday, November 16, 2012


photo of fieldstone wall on a brick alleyway
Growing up in New England, I saw a lot of stone walls and brick paved streets, rarely together. Stone walls were usually in rural locations, surrounding and delineating farm fields, houses and yards. They also served  poets such as Robert Frost as bridges to good neighborliness. Brick paving was most often found in somewhat less traveled roads in areas like Beacon Hill and under the asphalt overlay of more heavily thoroughfares. Finding something like the stone walls and brick paving juxtaposed the way they are in the photo above is one of the treats discoverable by exploring the byways of My Minnesota. That's how I discovered several of Minnesota's more notable writers and poets  who specialize in describing the juxtaposition of natural and man-made beauty found in rural places.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Golden days

photo of autumn foliage near a marsh
Weather's warming again. Much of the ice cover is (temporarily) melted. I'm hoping for a few more of the golden autumn days that come too infrequently to My Minnesota. When, as Joni Mitchell wrote in Chelsea Morning "...the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses...." A few more butterscotch-sweet days to succor my spirit before the onslaught of winter. Next week is Thanksgiving and the promise of the return to more winter-like weather.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kestrels, cats and caring

photo of a kestrel (sparrow hawk) perched on handler's glove
© harrington
This past Monday evening, I was participating in a board meeting of the local humane society, which, by the way, isn't part of the national humane society. Before the meeting started coming to order, one of the board members arrived with a cat carrier. Inside was a small, somewhat disheveled tabby looking very uncertain as to what might come next. Introductions were made between the tabby and several of the board members. The cat then proceeded to spend the entire meeting curled up in the arms of one of the members (not the same one who arrived with the cat), receiving the kind of strokes many of us would, no doubt, like to get more often. This reminded me of one of the evening presentations at the nature writing conference I attended in last September. It was put on by the Loft Literary Center at Audubon Center of the North Woods. The evening's presentation focused on local raptors and threats to their populations in Minnesota. Seeing a kestrel (above) and a barred owl up close was a rare and exciting experience, kind of like a cat at the board meeting. The audience of 50 or 60 at the conference far outnumbered the board membership of the local humane society. As far as I can tell, I was the only common participant. That makes me think that there are lots of us who are motivated to learn about and protect wildlife, domestic animals, and the environment on which we all depend. My Minnesota cares.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freeze up

photo of a small pond covered with ice
© harrington
Saturday, two days ago, in the southern regions of My Minnesota, the unseasonably warm weather reached temperatures near 70, complimented by several equally unseasonable tornadoes. Monday, today, the shallow ponds are coated with ice triggered by lows in the 20's while the first snowfall of the season hit the Twin Cities. Ducks and geese remaining will  concentrate on the larger lakes. Greater volume from depth and surface area requires longer, deeper cold spells for ice up. Usually, by November's end there will be little open water other than in the rivers. Before then, the temperature will bounce back into the 40's and maybe even the 50's. In My Minnesota, the seasons, like the mills of the gods, grind slowly but exceedingly small. Waterfowl migrate south; snow flakes and snow buntings drift in.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Community resilience

photo of a tree with a hole in its trunk at the Audubon Center of the North Woods
© harrington
Last September, I attended a Nature and Environmental Writing conference put on by the Loft Literary Center at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. While walking one of their trails from one session to the next, I noticed this holy tree. It made me think about the resilience demonstrated by most of nature. I certainly couldn't function with a hole that size in my trunk but this tree was alive, possibly thriving and contributing to its community. One of the lessons that seems to need reinforcement is that the key to success for humans has to be measured at the community level, not simply by aggregating the amount of individual success of each member. Hurricane Sandy is expected to put a $30 to $50 billion hole in our economy. We may survive that hole, but residents and businesses in New York and New Jersey are far from thriving. I think their problems derive, in part, from over-reliance on centralized, top down systems to deliver energy. The Audubon Center is a partial demonstration of an alternative. The photo below shows the Center's photovoltaic farm and related appurtenances. Imagine a community powered by a network like this where, Internet-like, locally-generated, renewable energy could flow around disruptions. That's the kind of future I'd like to see for My Minnesota.
© harrington

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Complete street?

photo of a gravel road in the country
© harrington
This is what the road in front of my house looked like a few short months ago. Today, the branches are bare (except for some stubborn oaks), the ground is covered with fallen leaves, the dusty road is muddy and slick in spots.  Soon, the township will be sending the snow plow, but only when we get more than 3 inches of snow in one snowfall. Township roads are supposedly 4 rods wide, that's 66 feet in more modern terms, except when they aren't. A full 66 foot width might put my neighbor's fence withing the roadway although the township doesn't maintain all the way to the fence by mowing. However, about a mile south of here, the maintained right-of-way isn't much wider than the roadway, with trees encroaching up to the undersized ditches/shoulders. I suspect this arrangement sometimes creates a challenge for the township snow plow driver(s). According to a white paper I recently found on-line, after some idiot ran down the political signs on our property and the local sheriff's deputy informed me that such signs aren't supposed to be placed within the roadway (although I'm still responsible for paying property taxes on it), "While the statutes provide various methods for adopting, dedicating and recording town roads, there is no uniform width to town roads." From a practical perspective, I suppose this means that in My Minnesota, complete streets in a township may have to start with determining what is a complete street width.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Safe harbor

photo of a freighter leaving Duluth harbor
© harrington
A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for. Thirty-seven years ago, on November 10,1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sailed from Superior, Wisconsin. It was lost, together with its crew of 29, on the way to Zug Island on the Detroit River. It left behind a great mystery and greater miseries suffered by the crews' families and loved ones. Superior is one of the Twin Ports, the other Twin is Duluth. Taconite, grain and wind turbine blades are shipped through the Twin Ports contributing to the past and future economies of My Minnesota. I suspect many of us who daily commute by car to our jobs seldom give a thought to those who actually risk their lives to earn a living. With so many wonders and opportunities in our Minnesota, do we daily take safety and beauty for granted and so fail to appreciate what we have?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Working harbor

photo of the harbor at Duluth Superior
© harrington
I was born in Boston MA and grew up mostly on the south shore and Cape Cod areas of Massachusetts. That probably helps account for why I find Duluth so appealing (despite its lack of salt water aroma). Working harbors have long been a part of My Minnesota. Duluth on Lake Superior, St. Paul and Minneapolis on the Mississippi River, are watery connection points to the rest of the world. Many of the river towns south of St. Paul, such as Hastings, Red Wing and Winona, retain a wonderful historic patina. Duluth, which recently experienced and is recovering from, a "storm of the millenium," is expected to be among the leaders in demonstrating how cities can adapt to climate change associated events. New York and New Jersey will now no doubt also be pursuing adjustments to rising sea levels and higher storm surges. Resilience has always been required of those who live in My Minnesota. Resilient development will be necessary for a sustainable future here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A brighter future

photo of a chickadee in the rain
© harrington
Election day was damp, drizzling and/or snowy, depending on where you were in My Minnesota. The day after election day dawned bright and sunny, no matter the cloud cover (except maybe around the 6th Congressional District). Perhaps now we can make progress overcoming our cultural reticence (janteloven according to LandOf) about promoting our local treasures. As the saying goes "it ain't bragging if you've done it" (or something like that). My Minnesota has four plus seasons, four ecosystems, numerous biomes, and a built environment that's getting smarter by the year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

My Minnesota takes pride in being a leader in high voter turnout. We even voted several years ago to increase our own taxes to support our arts and environment.

If you don't know where to vote here is a link to the magic voting place finder.   
If you are not up on the local issues just vote no to protect our Minnesota's civil environment.

vote against voter restriction, limiting marriage

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bright new day?

foggy sunrise through the woods
© harrington
Tomorrow is election day. I'm hopeful it will be less rancorous than today. Many decades ago, when I had first moved here from New England, where politics is a full-bodied contact sport, Minnesota politics was played with a level of civility and sportsmanship I haven't noticed recently. Politics in Minnesota is now played as a zero sum game, which seems to me to be both unnatural and unsustainable. We're all Minnesotans and, absent a wave of migration of biblical proportions, we will continue to be interdependent. With luck, hard work and a dash of "wisdom to know the difference," tomorrow may be the start of a brighter time for My Minnesota, if we relearn how to play well with others. (Someone still should be grading the backs of our report cards.)