Monday, November 11, 2013

November notables

Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. If we had timed our recent North Shore adventure a little differently, we could have seen the interior of the Split Rock Light House when the beacon is lit in memoriam.

Split Rock Lighthouse
Split Rock Lighthouse      © harrington

Gordon Lightfoot, still performing at 74, which makes him an inspiration to many of us, wrote and performs an absolutely haunting song about The Wreck.

Later this month we on the american side celebrate Thanksgiving. Our neighbors north of the border celebrated theirs in mid-October. After our Thanksgiving, we have to decide where we fall on the consumerism scale. Friday, November 29 is both Black Friday and "Buy Nothing Day." Minnesota companies like Best Buy and Target seem to be leading a movement away from Buy Nothing day by starting Black Friday activities on Thanksgiving eve. Halloween candy sales were still happening as Christmas decorations were being put on display at one local big box. I'm reminded of Ross Perot's quote about "that sucking sound you hear," only now the jobs and profits are not even remaining on the North American continent. Vermont is showing leadership with their New Economy activities. Our Minnesota might want to take a look, although, according to Lee Egerstrom at Minnesota 2020, we've got some things right with our protection of the "family farm." This year, when we slow down, at least for a few hours to give thanks, maybe we should also take some time to think about what, in 2014, we want to be able to give thanks for that we don't have this year. An effective climate change adaptation strategy, a new local economy strategy, a Vikings Superbowl win (no way)? The other two might be attainable if we decide they're important to us. Which values are priorities for Minnesotans in the 21st century? Does shopping on Thanksgiving represent the best and highest use of family time so a few of us can save a few bucks? Is that what we want our children to be grateful for or are we substituting HDTV for quality times? How about we pass on shopping and try a walk after dinner on Thanksgiving, sharing the beauty of our Minnesota with our families and friends?

Minnesota's Autumn beauty
Minnesota's Autumn beauty    © harrington

See if Robert Frost's poem gift to us captures something to which you think we should pay more attention.

The Gift Outright

By Robert Frost 
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


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