Column 1 Published in the May 5th, 2015 issue of the Warroad Pioneer
No, we’re not that awfully far away, and we see lots of you most regularly, but perhaps a small handful of non-Angle folk would care to hear a tale or two on a regular basis from the North Woods.
I’ve had a long-held desire to write a column for the Pioneer. And this is that inaugural effort. I can’t very well report on the goings on of my neighbors, nor would I care to, so the question becomes, what purpose will this column serve? Will simple observations, random thoughts and lessons learned suffice? And more importantly, how can I serve others in some form through this effort?
Martin Luther King Jr. once said: Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
When I first moved to the Angle I mentioned in conversation that I wanted to get involved. A month later I was meeting with business owners as they voted to disband the neglected chamber of commerce. A month after that I was lunching with one of our community elders so that she could pass the baton on the event she had led for nearly two decades.
Now, three short years into this chapter of my life, I help run our summer event Angle Days, help organize misc. community gatherings, and help market our non-profit snowmobile club.
Along the way, it didn’t feel so much like service. After all, I’ve always loved to throw a good party. And I’m sure my ego was basking mightily in all the thanks and praise I received for my hard work. One well-meaning soul asked me once, “What do you get out of doing all of this?” Without thinking or hesitating, my response was simply, “I enjoy it.”
Joy. It does indeed bring me joy to serve my community, and I’m sure many of you can relate. Out of love for this little community, I want to tell the world (or at least the readership of our nearest newspaper) about its goings on, about its beauty, its mystery and what I’m learning about life by living here, by raising a child here, by working side by side here with other salt of the earth folk. The Angle does feel like a special place (though of course all of Mother Earth is special), but still, it is where I am right now. I wake up to bird song and the sunrise over the inlet. I sip my daily bone broth watching the lake, newly unburdened of its heavy winter cloak. I listen to the old timers and the countless stories about the history of this place. I raise my daughter to hopefully appreciate every blade of grass and the freedoms inherent in this lifestyle.
In some way, shape or form, I hope I may serve through my words, my stories, my wanderings. To me, it doesn’t seem like that much of a gift. In fact, you give me the gift by reading. I may not always bring humor and I may not always offer wisdom, but I’ll shoot for coherence and flow and to hopefully raise the corner of a mouth into a smile somewhere for someone. For that possibility alone, I am grateful.