The Long Goodbye

Column 19 Published in the January 26, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer

Is the long goodbye a Minnesota phenomenon? A product of isolation? Here at The Angle it’s seems quite natural to keep talking as you stand at the door, hand on door knob, still visiting for an hour after you’ve said you better get going. Then we’ll chat on the front porch, follow you out to the car, and visit through the car window until you finally inch away. Be sure to look back, we’ll be waving as you turn out of the driveway.

Is it comical? Is it sad? People need people after all, and there are a handful of us here who get very minimal social interaction while the rest of us get barely enough to keep us on this side of the sane lane. Interacting with our guest tourists can keep us busy, certainly, but without depth and true connection, it can also drain the reserves.

Our busy winter season is in full swing now that the sub-zero temps have graced us with their presence. Fortunately, they don’t usually adhere to the same extended Minnesota visiting practices.

Locals say we make an inch of ice a day when it’s Cold cold. I’ve resumed my two morning shifts a week at Jerry’s to serve coffee and eggs to antsy fisherman before they hit the ice, but making ice aside, I certainly don’t relish starting a car in the early morning when it’s 25 below zero. Regardless, we’re glad for the cold weather and the social aspect of the job definitely makes up for the O’dark:30 start time.

It’s this time of winter, in combination with the minimal social options available, that allows us time for other pursuits – when we’re not traipsing through the woods on snowshoes, roaring around on a snowmobile, running a resort or sitting peacefully in a fish house, that is. All those free hours in between jobs and parenting and general survival, I’m teaching myself to play the piano. My dad is in a band, the Knight Lighters, and they’ve been patient enough to allow my amateurish ivory tickling on stage with them. Finding time to practice a little bit every day (it’s more like every other day) takes discipline. And I usually have to let my two-year old sing through the keyboard microphone until she tires of it. Our Mary Had a Little Lamb duet is well-rehearsed.

Road Quill Accessories, my all natural (and again, amateurish) jewelry line is another indoor pursuit perfect for winter. It gives me a creative outlet and, as morbid as this sounds, a way to make death beautiful. I use deer antler, porcupine quills, red willow, moose poop, recycled leather and other natural material. I keep threatening to bring some of it into town to sell it somewhere; maybe I will someday.

I’ve also started studying A Course in Miracles. It’s a required course, and I always knew I’d get to it. For years, it seemed too intimidating, a huge undertaking that I wasn’t ready for. Much like parenthood, I suppose: you’ll never be ready until you start. If anyone else out there is studying The Course and wants to connect, look me up on Facebook. I’d love to have conversations about it.

A small team of Angleites continues to work on plans for the most northerly park in the lower 48. It’s a bit of a bureaucratic slog right now, but we’re finding people to be helpful and supportive. When it truly gets off the ground, I’ll certainly be sharing a lot more. We have so many exciting ideas.

I have to mention our Snow Rally as well. The Edge Riders’ club members and volunteers work hard to keep snowmobiling trails in good shape for adventurers and ice-fishing folk. We raise money through the rally each year by raffling off prizes. My roll is the marketing, advertising and social media aspect of the club. It’s a lot of fun, another social outlet and it just plain feels good to be involved. Come see us on Saturday, March 5 at Sunset Lodge on Oak Island. It’s always a good time.

We’ll try not to talk your ear off completely as you inch your way out to your car when it’s over.


Author: Angle Full of Grace

A writer, woods-wanderer, and internal peace seeker who raises two free-range children in the wilderness, I escaped the wasteland of corporate America a few years back never to return. I write about love, family, mental health, addiction, parenthood and personal growth all through lens of place and connection to the land. Most entries are my weekly column for our local small-town newspaper, and there's an occasional feature story thrown in the mix as well.

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