Time Away from Blogging

Carol A. Hand

You have all probably noticed my frequent absences recently. Autumn is always a busy time for me. This year is no exception – except it already feels busier.

The rotting board on my deck has been repaired and the deck floor has a new coat of paint. I think I’ve washed off most of the paint from my hands and arms, and under my nails.

Weeds and branches are secured in large paper bags, waiting to be transported to the local collection site. I still have many more branches to bag, though. Hopefully the bags will fit in my little car (White Pony).

Despite the heat and drought, life has been kind.

Smoky Sunset – August 2018

There are bountiful gardens to tend and harvest.

Gardens – August 2018

Another round of editing has begun for the book manuscript I’ve been working on for years. This time, I have a plan.

Soon I will have a digital copy of an original painting for the cover thanks to a dear friend, Carl Gawboy, an Ojibwe artist, scholar, and storyteller. Here’s the old photo that has now become part of my chapter one rewrite. It illustrates shifting times. Children who were once surrounded by nature and family live on reservations where the original forests were clear cut. The first generation didn’t realize the magnitude of the environmental and social changes that would follow when most of the trees were gone. But the next generation lived with the consequences of yet more losses.

A quick visit today to the on-line site for the class I will be teaching beginning on September 8 was a rather alarming reminder about the amount of work I have yet to do on my syllabus and assignments. Luckily, the new edition of the course text arrived yesterday. Of course, I will be trying something new, again. We’ll be looking at the link between access to clean water and community health. That means some research, thinking, and writing. Any suggestions you have about relevant research articles, online resources, or innovative initiatives would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you all know how much I value your presence in my life. For now, though, I will need to carve out more time to deal with these pressing responsibilities. I can’t predict how long I’ll be gone. I have an unpredictable muse who surprises me now and then with something urgent I need to write and share. Of course, I can’t post something without reciprocating visits and responding to comments (often belatedly). As you all know, that takes a lot of time. Frequently I resist posting until my muse makes my life unbearable.

With My Daughter and Grandson – August 2018
With My Granddaughter and Grandson – August 2018


À bientôt (see you later) and best wishes to all.


Northshore Highlights

Carol A. Hand

A colorful morning although skies were grey

On a cool but ordinary Saturday

Bumble bee feasting – June 17, 2017

An impromptu trip along Lake Superior’s Northwest shore

Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel

Dramatic skies promised rain for sure

Heading North
A Rainy View

Fast moving storms pass, creating fog and rising steam

Lake Superior View from Palisade Head (Beaver Bay, MN)

Inspiring a moment to ponder, perhaps to dream

My daughter, gazing a the lake she loves

Watching a robin bathe

A Happy Robin

And a rescued resting little bug

An insect my granddaughter lovingly rescued

Taking time to enjoy family

Lake Superior – Palisade Head
Cross River Falls, MN
Cross River Falls

And time for a hug

Grand Marais, MN

Beautiful sights and laughter along the way

Lake Superior – Grand Marais, MN
Cross River Falls – looking west
Cross River Falls – looking east

Treasures of travels on an ever-shifting weather day

After the storm passed through

Reflection – It’s just moments now …

Carol A. Hand

“I … can’t … remember.”

“It’s just moments now.”

“Moments that are no longer connected.”

mom and me off to college

I will remember for you, Mother.

While I’m here.

While I can.

Then someone else will need to remember for me, too.


in loving memory of my mother who died 6 years ago


Celebrating the New Year

Carol A. Hand

Shifting perspectives of the place where we live
Sometimes seen through the vantage point of an eagle


Other times seen though a well-traveled windshield as we descend


Winding downward into the working-class side of the city


A quick glimpse of the western ridge that changes with the seasons


Driving through neighborhoods that have perhaps seen more prosperous times


Watching light change with the setting sun, the plowed and shoveled snow in shadow


Into the heart of the city, not always the prettiest of sights


This old home of the Dakota, Ojibwe, was once was the fastest growing city in a new nation


Even though some of us may sleep through part of the journey
Trusting that those who watch over us will keep us safe


We will finally reach our next, temporary destination
Grateful both for the respite and the journey that we’ve shared together

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reflections about the Most Meaningful Gifts

Carol A. Hand

I wish
I could give
all my relations –
all who share this earth
the most meaningful of gifts –
a world where each one is cherished,
where all are supported to express their full potential,
able to find joy and appreciate the beauty and wonder of life,
in neighborhoods, towns and nations guided by love
in a blessed and magical world
at peace.





Photos: Christmas 2015 – Family Standing on Different Shores








These thoughts were inspired by a recent post by Trace Lara Hentz on The MIX, and a powerful quote.

If you have young children, before you fall off to sleep tonight, I want you to hold your child. Touch your child’s face. Smell your child’s hair. Count the fingers on your child’s hand. See the miracle that is your child. And then, with as much vision as you can muster, I want you to imagine that your child is black. (George Yancy (2015, December 24), Professor of Philosophy at Emory University, New York Times)

All of the children in the whole world are miracles. All are our relations and responsibility.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Stories from my Father — Pilots, Pitchers, and Pigs

Stories from my Father — Pilots, Pitchers, and Pigs

By Cheryl A. Bates

Several years ago, my father threatened to buy a computer and teach himself how to use it. This was an incredibly ambitious effort for someone who grew up before color and cable TV, cell phones, and computer games. At 80 years old, finally retired from decades of the physical demands of logging in the Pacific Northwest, he has learned to connect with people from all over the world using his computer. Now with more time on his hands, he has begun writing down his memoirs and stories. He has been busy this past winter. After promising me for years that he would share his stories, he sent me his old computer’s hard drive with a collection of stories and memories he had written.

Every now and then during our online chats, he’ll ask about the stories or he’ll say “maybe you can do something with those stories.” I always give an upbeat answer that I will do something, someday. Today, it occurred to me that with this being Father’s Day, I could show how much his sharing means to me by writing about the sharing of his stories with me.

During one of our weekly online chats, my dad was talking about something he read in an AARP magazine that inspired him to write a story about a random act of kindness he experienced as a boy. He shared his story with me by typing it into an email. A few days later, I received a regular mail letter from my dad with a copy of the inspirational story and the following note.

I thought I might

When I was a small boy, 4th or 5th grade, my folks moved to Roswell, New Mexico. During WWII, my step-father was in the Air Force stationed at the B-29 base. He was a line mechanic and could change those engines on the big planes. My mom was working also, usually as a telephone switchboard operator. They never seemed to worry about my brother and me. We amused ourselves pretty much.

I can remember wandering around and exploring many places and things. There was a municipal airport not far from where we lived at the time. One day I happened to be there when the Air Force was using the runways for touch and go landing practice for the military planes. The pilots were so young. Usually just out of college as Second Lieutenants. This day, a tall good looking military man looked at me and said, “You wanna go for ride?” “Wow – of course I would,” I replied. “Okay, wait right here and I will be right back.” Well, needless to say, I was not leaving that spot until he came back. He came back and said, “Let’s go.” Evidently he must have rented this little Piper Club airplane. We took off and circled the town and county. Oh my, I was so excited.

I have often wondered whatever happened to this young man. Sincerely, I hope he made it through the war. I never saw him again but what a nice thing he did for me just out of the blue.

Dad Douglas AZ

My dad, William Thomas Bates, Sr.

Our weekend telephone calls have been replaced by more frequent yahoo chats throughout the week and an occasional email. Throughout the many years of graduate school, my dad was my number one supporter. There was never a time after a phone call or chat when I didn’t hang up feeling uplifted, inspired, or supported. Even now, he continues to be supportive. He was the first person to comment on  my bio for the blog, “Wow…way to go sweetheart, very good. Loving you, Dad.”

In 2008, I finally finished school. Even though my dad had had a rough year with his health and wasn’t particularly comfortable traveling on airplanes, he made it to my graduation.

Graduation 2008

So proud, tears came to his eyes.

A few years ago while attending a conference in Portland, OR, I slipped out and visited my father for a couple of days. On this visit, in addition to bags of old photos and stuff, he sent me home with an old silver set. He explained that it wasn’t an expensive set but it was special because his mother, wanting to have heirlooms to pass down, managed to purchase it during the depression by making payments, 10 cents a week, until it was bought.

Creamer Pitcher

Then, a few months later, I received a small package from my father. Inside was this silver cream pitcher and a note from my dad.

Dear Doctor Cheryl,

This little cup or pitcher probably has no value except that it is filled brim full of my love for you and for its little story. When WW2 ended, we were in Roswell, New Mexico. I think I was 10 or 11 yrs. old. My step-father brought us to Oregon where we settled in Twin  Rocks, OR. His brother was in the hog raising business supplying pork for the military and other markets. In those days they fed discarded restaurant waste and had regular slop routes around Salem, OR and other places. Whenever we visited them I got to get up real early and go with cousins, nicknamed Bean and Babe, on the slop routes and they picked up barrels of this waste.

Well, in the slop there were some different items evidently tossed in either intentionally or just negligence. In those days they used a lot of real silverware and heavy duty dishes. My uncle’s wife gave all the relations some of these items after they were cleaned up of course. We had several different things from her. They all got one of these pitchers. Somehow this one found its way back to me. I used it for tooth picks. It might be an heirloom someday. Now you know “The Rest of the Story”…Loving you dearly, Dad.  (December, 2009)

pig picture

I had to substitute this picture for the one I wanted to use here. I have been looking all morning for an old picture my dad sent me of some pigs he was raising. He had written the names of the pigs on the photograph with a ball-point pen.

On this Father’s Day, I am living up to my promise to share his stories to let him know how important he is to me and how much I value his presence in my life.

Copyright Notice: © Cheryl A. Bates and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cheryl A. Bates, and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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