Friday, September 25, 2009

Duluth? You Can't Handle Duluth!

A funny moment on this morning's Lakewalk. It was cloudy with some good waves coming in and some wise men apparently decided it would be a good day to offer themselves up to the Lake gods. I'm not sure if they got the chance because when I arrived on the scene the pickup truck's tires were already stuck half out of sight deep in the small rocks which make up the beach at the corner of the Lake. Not sure if they ever had the chance to get their two jet skis unloaded from the back, if they or someone else called the cop who was nearby in his car, if they were drunk or always that stupid. I lean toward the latter based simply on the ownership of jet skis as compelling evidence. Whenever I've seen one on the Lake, I've always wondered if that was legal and if so why.

I also wondered that a lot in Duluth when new buildings would go up. Recently, a couple with too many dollars and too little sense have been building a huge hideous eyesore of a house on 13 acres off Skyline Drive in an area where there were no houses. This monstrosity is visible not only in Duluth, but from Wisconsin, standing out against the natural background of trees on the ridge. Happily, some elves have apparently been at work vandalizing during construction including breaking all the windows. Now the owners have had the gall to request that the city close a scenic overlook three blocks away at night because of the traffic and noise. The last time I checked today's online newspaper story about this, there were 234 comments overwhelmingly expressing a low opinion of the house builders with several suggesting drive-by horn honking in the middle of the night and other elvishness to compete with the builders' selfishness.

Just a couple of the latest examples of the human behavior which diminishes the stunning location where Duluthians live. The location where yesterday I watched a merganser repeatedly gather himself backwards and then dive below the Lake's surface, the water rippling and sparkling in the sun. To my left, a honeybee on purple clover below the swaying yellow tansy buttons; to my right, a chipmunk ran past. No need for motors or mansions.

The stuff (including a 2010 Lake Superior calendar) is shipped, the bank account closed, the next two books to review (The Man Who Lives with Wolves, and Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows) ordered and on the way to the next address, and Walden the cat will be forced from my side Monday night when I'll also say goodbye to some friends and maybe need to get good and drunk before leaving Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm juggling my last moments with the Cat, the Computer, the Lake.

I've emailed a nature place where I hope to volunteer, and discovered a great speaker will be at an event at the animal place where I hope to volunteer; still waiting to learn the speaker schedule for the veggie fest before deciding which day to attend/volunteer. Three weeks to get in a whale watch before the season ends, various trail maps and applications are printed, Thoreau's country calls to me, I look forward to a warm hello hug from a good friend.

There may be a final photo or two in the next few days; if not, the next whenever post will be from the Pond or the Ocean instead of the Lake--it's all good water.


william said...

Interesting read. Your writing really gives a look at your thought processes. No editing, pure stream of consiousness.

At first I was a little put off by your honesty, not because I disagreed with you, because I did not, but because your opinions seemed so coarse. And then I realized that I was more than curious about your courage to write what you think.

Thank you, keep it up.


JS said...

I’ll honk in distant protest at the builders and tip a cup to sorrowful Lake departures.

I’m sorry for the loss of your cat. Best wishes for your trip to the other good water.

greentangle said...

Thanks, Bill. There actually usually is some editing and rewriting involved in what I post here, but I try not to let it interfere with my starting thoughts. My favorite nature writers/social critics are Thoreau and Abbey, so that's a lot of bluntness to live up to.

Hmmm, is that the JS? I always wondered if JS was still reading anonymously. In any case, thanks for the honks, tips, sorrow, and wishes.

Woodswalker said...

I share your contempt for jet skis and garish mansions despoiling the land, but not your glee over vandalizing. The backlash to this sort of thing rarely benefits the community. (Folks with dough usually get their way, alas!) If only there were some perfect justice that made litterers eat their own trash, jet skiers drink the waters they pollute, and McMansion owners pay enough taxes to build affordable housing.

I'm impressed by how you are easing your grief over leaving Duluth by involving yourself in your new community in such positive ways. If you want to stop off in Saratoga County on your way east, I'd be happy to show you some woods and waterways.

greentangle said...

That's a great offer, Woodswalker; I'm sure any hike with you would be both a lot of fun and very educational. I'll actually be passing through Albany but I don't think the Greyhound driver and other passengers would want to detour and wait for a hike. Maybe another time.

As for the volunteering I hope to do, I'm glad if I can help someone care about nature and critters, but I really need to be involved with those matters for my own mental health.

Allan Stellar said...

Hooray for Elves!

and don't forget to write...