Pat, who is going on 107 years old, says she was surprised that her difficulty breathing was caused by a heart problem, not her lungs.
Fred Smith is a volunteer producer at WTIP North Shore Community Radio. Each week, he shares his perspectives through Wildersmith on the Gunflint.
On to September…she’s calling! Thank goodness it’s here as August has been ugly…stuck in a hot sticky rut about every weekend. The last one has been the worst of all in the upper Gunflint. Month nine has to be better…the season of “Dagwagin” (fall) surely can’t be as miserably dry as what the upper Trail has been through the past 31.
The last rain, of nearly two weeks ago, has long since evaporated and left the territory in the everlasting drought. Obviously we aren’t connecting with the right words to the rain gods!
And just as we have been worrying, the horrible word “wildfire” has become more than one of simple conversation. This past weekend, a smoldering bog fire caught the blistering southerly winds and took off.
The cause remains unknown, but the location is. Located west of Lizard Lake in the BWCAW south of the Trail…it may have started by dry lightning. At this writing (Sunday evening), the smoky 1-plus-acre smudge pot has grown to almost 50 acres and has the serious attention of Forest Service firefighters as well as our local Gunflint fire volunteers.
Two days of aerial water drops have made the area along Gunflint Lake busier than many a big city airport. I’ve been unable to keep an accurate count of all the touch downs to scoop water by those big yellow beaver aircraft.
Perhaps the rain gods will see the “smoke as a signal” that this area needs immediate help!
This column marks a celebration of such for yours truly. I’m keying off into year nine of sending you Gunflint news snippets each week.
The first seven years were for the local newspaper and since then...with the great folks of… and listeners to… WTIP. Thanks to everyone that has been so kind to surf the web, stream it, and/or tune into the great North Shore community radio broadcasts of Wildersmith happenings.
Folks in these parts are used to seeing a wide variety of wild critters, but a couple residing over along the shores of Hungry Jack Lake had occasion to see one that is fairly obscure. A porcupine waddled through their yard, and they were amazed at its size.
All summer the dragonflies have been few and far between, but suddenly they have re-emerged. The bi-winged darters have been zipping here and there with reckless abandon. I’m betting that the recent influx of mosquitoes might be the answer to the late season gathering. They sure are beautiful if you’re lucky enough to have one land on your shoulder.
Although “Dagwagin” is officially three weeks away by the calendar, birch and aspen leaves are already beginning to release from their summer attachment. Many have simply curled up and turned brown…almost avoiding much of a color show…no doubt due to the stressing conditions of drought.
Wonders of our natural world seem to always be mystically re-inventing themselves. I can never get over the marvel of forest images as they reflect upon a still northwoods lake. Such was the case a week ago during the Smiths’ weekly supply run to Grand Marais.
One of my favorite spots along the Trail is the scene across Swamper Lake. On this particular morning barely a breath of air moved over this stellar body of water, revealing nary a ripple. The perfect reproduction of the coniferous shore onto water was remarkably splendid…breathtaking in every sense of the word. What an artist, that Mother Nature gal. Now if she would just break loose with some rain!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor a “September Song.”
WTIP’s Buck Benson spoke recently with Adam Scher, senior curator at the MN Historical Society, about their new exhibit, “Toys of the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s,” opening May 24 at the MN History Center in St. Paul. You’ll recognize many favorites as well as a few you haven’t heard of…like the Johnny Horizon Environmental Test Kit? Many of the toys have Minnesota connections.