Extraordinary stories from everyday life on the edge of the world

Stories

the best thing about us is the people we know.
 
Moving Water

The first time I went cross-country skiing, I told myself that I was going to fall down, and I was going to laugh about it. In retrospect, I was overly optimistic. 

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Chelsea BattenComment
Thaw

Blue skies and warming temperatures to the contrary, thaw is Upper Michigan's least lovely look. On the upside, the sun is out, but with it comes the realization that the last time you went skiing may have been the last time for the season. you may have taken your last ski without knowing it.

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Chelsea BattenComment
First Fire

You can see it on their faces tonight, as they stand around the fire in the snow. Even before that, you could hear it in their voices as they called down from the top of the ridge, see it in their eager skidding down through the high-piled drifts. By the time they threaded their way through the trails Bryan carved out (with an axe last fall, with a shovel these past months), and came to a stop at the leaning tamarack that points like a ship's prow toward the horizon, they were in love.

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Chelsea BattenComment
Sun in Winter

Some days I wake up to find the room is drenched in fuzzy golden light, the kind that spills through the stained glass of a cathedral nave. I climb over my sleeping bearded husband (who protests), throw on my boots and my biggest coat while waiting for the water to heat up, and charge out into a world of diamonds and champagne.

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Chelsea BattenComment
Ojibwayland

In or about 1820, glassmaker Henry David Schoolcraft developed a hubristic side gig in ethnography. He began publishing accounts of the Lake Superior region’s native language and lore. Despite being full of factual errors, these books established him an expert, and he was appointed as a federal “Indian agent." Tasked with advancing the United States’ appropriative interest in the Michigan territory, Schoolcraft continued publishing books on Ojibwe culture, all riddled with half truths and invented names. 

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Joining the Red Plaid Nation

This is feral Mishigamaa, formed by glaciers, volcanoes, storms and floods, bleeding out its age in copper, iron and limonite. This is the land where wolves roam the frozen lake in winter, and migrated birds return within hours of the melt. This is where the Mamaceqtaw speared salmon by torchlight, the Ojibwe recorded their dreams on birch scrolls, and the ghosts of the Mishinimaki still dance in their snowshoes.

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A Place of Our Own

At a recent party, Chris read my archetype and, as he often does, elaborated on it out of his own intuition. He offered caution about too much motion fostering an inability to settle on something when the right something arose.

The word didn't sound the way it used to. To my ears, it sounded like a loanword from a more comprehensive language, like an Inuit term for snow or a German term for sadness. For the first time, I didn't hear "settle" and think of concession, resignation, or inertial sinking into the earth.

Instead, I thought of the Keweenaw.

 
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