Lake Superior this year has been higher than usual because of the massive amounts of snow and ice
in the area, and the summer waves have thrown up massive amounts of driftwood from some far off shore...
...which have been transformed into art by many different invisible hands.
The entire stretch of barrier beach called "Park Point" is lined with
sculptural installations made with the scavenged wood.
I've never seen anything quite like this display.
It's metaphysical, ritualistic, profound, paleo...
...or would that be neolithic?
If you ignore the houses, it's not that different from those long ago -lithic times.
Here the same piece of wood transforms into three different creatures:
More beach creatures:
Serpents 1 and 2...
Multi-limbed creature crawling out of the waves...
They're all so fabulous, we are compelled to build our own.
Brett is king of the beach.
Shannon is queen of the beach.
But we all rule!
(Note the piece of wood falling from Sherry's head.)
Shannon and Sherry face off for ladder golf points.
...while the naked Barbie watches over us.
(She is a gift from Sherry and will soon be assimilated into the Painted People clan - watch for it.)
We stay in a wonderful house where I get my very own cupola haven with a
view of the backyard leading to the dunes.
The first day the waves were huge and rough and there are rip current warnings...
...but the lake settles down enough for us to swim in the cold, cold water.
Not much sun, but what we have, we appreciate.
From our front deck, we can see the bay side.
On our way out of the city, we stop to peruse the offerings in the "Free Little Library."
They had the same thing in Madison, only called the "Little Free Library."
I wonder if they are competing brands...
Alas, we must bid farewell to the shining big sea waters as we enter Wisconsin...
...which has water, too.
Above, an afternoon of kayaking with brother Dan.
I segue over to Menomonie, which also has water...
...that turns a brilliant green in the waning days of summer, courtesy of
the many farms feeding the lakes and streams.
Here's evidence of a farmer who does less damage than most, one of the local Hmong
population farmer/gardeners who is a lot like the hope-for-the-future-small-careful-farmers mentioned
by that climate hysteric (quoted in the previously mentioned Atlantic Magazine article),
Bill McKibbon, in his book Oil and Honey.
He said, "No chemicals! No chemicals!"
Then whispered an aside: "Vinegar! No bugs!"
Above is my good friend Tracy Lea Landis with her wonderful
hand dyed clothing, which I bought one of.
And below is my good friend Diane Piaskowski
who in her "retirement" from nursing is working at
Bullfrog Farms where Herbie and others grow the most delicious (smoked) trout I've ever tasted.
Menomonie is known for this amazing building, the Mabel Tainter Theater, built by
a lumber (robber?) baron for his daughter.
Below is a long standing brick building that seems to be
getting ready to have some kind of stupid cheap ugly siding put on over the bricks.
Here's a house that could use some of that very siding.
We all pose with Grandpa Rick.
Note that I'm wearing one of Tracy's awesome hand dyed shirts!
There's a let's all wear Jennifer's cool hat theme here.
(Photo by Jennifer Keeley Yonda)
(Photo by Andrew Keeley Yonda)
Upstairs at Rick's house,
Aaron discovers a valuable cache of Super Dudes, the real live originals
made when he was a youngster...
...now fabulously valuable artifacts of a lost time...
...well, not quite lost, since he makes new ones now...
Here's some Andrew art from back in the day, and a cabinet covered with
Cabbage Patch Kids stickers, now quite vintage.
Elliott is charmed by all of this.
Aaron takes a fond (or maybe not so fond) look at the old digs, which is quite possibly
going to be sold soon...
...hopefully so Grandpa Rick can spend more time with the little big guy.
A mutual admiration society!
Another mutual admiration society awaits back in New Richmond at Dan and Angie's.
CoCo Chanel is their new dog, and Elliott is fascinated...
...while CoCo seems less so.
She's just been shaved because of a run-in with muddy swamp with lots of tiny stickers.
Notice the difference between these two photos!
The magic of Photoshop!
Elliott has no problem with pink,
and all of us envy him in the 90 degree humid heat.
Daddy Andrew pours water on the babe to his great delight!
Here's a book that Andrew and Jennifer will not use as a guide to parenting, thank God.
Or thank whomever.
It's Charles R. Swindoll's You and Your Child, published in 1977, found in a New Richmond
thrift store, and it creeps me out.
I don't agree that we're born spiritually depraved and dead.
In fact, it seems an evil thing to say about a new baby.
Why not phrase it, say, spiritually unborn, or neutral.
But then I guess Swindoll wouldn't be a Christian preacher if he didn't use those loaded words.
I also disagree with his interpretation of Psalm 58:3 - I think it means the opposite of what he's saying -
more like birth is a state of innocence, and the wicked wander away from that.
I guess it all depends on where your "from" is coming from.
In any case, I think we're born with a whole contingent of spiritual connections,
some good, some not so good.
But then I believe in reincarnation - human to human, over and over again.
So we bring these connections with us.
Another book found on the thrifty shelves is Rollo May's Love and Will,
published in 1969.
He is also dealing with the idea of "evil"but he doesn't use words like sin and iniquity.
He does talk a lot about the "daimonic" in human life,
which he describes as
"a fundamental, archetypal function of human experience — an existential reality in modern man, and, as far as we know, in all men. The daimonic is the urge in every being to affirm itself, assert itself, perpetuate and increase itself. The daimonic becomes evil when it usurps the total self without regard to the integration of that self, or to the unique forms and desires of others and their need for integration. It then appears in excessive aggression, hostility, cruelty — the things about ourselves which horrify us most, and which we repress whenever we can or, more likely, project on others. But these are the reverse side of the same assertion which empowers our creativity. All life is a flux between these two aspects of the daimonic. We can repress the daimonic, but we cannot avoid the toll of apathy and the tendency toward later explosion which such repression brings in its wake. (p. 123.)
Hmmm. So does creativity come from the gods, or the "daimonic?
Is there a difference?
To hedge our bets, we should all be artists of one sort or another - either letting the god-like creative spirit flow through us, or conversely, keeping those daemonic forces in check.
If Hitler had gone to architectural school, (he was unfortunately rejected)
he could have channeled his own horrific forces into designing huge
fascistic buildings like those of Albert Speer, his future architect,
and spent his energies struggling against unfair professors
and unforgiving academicians who couldn't see his genius...
(internet photo of Speer's Reich Chancellory)
...and kept his hands off the people. And wouldn't the world be so, so much better off
with a few ugly Hitlerian buildings rather than a reign of Nazis?
Well, on to lighter subjects. These dolls are pretty scary, but they don't hurt anyone.
Well, except maybe the small girls who play with them, whose minds are no doubt
warped just a bit by these creatures...
...especially the big headed, big lipped ones.
And I thought Barbies were bad. They at least look human and not, well, demonic...
Here's a kind of grim looking Mary...
...and another Mary, done up Barbie-style!
She also recites Bible stories if you push her button.
So these are the two ladies I bring back to Brooklyn, potentially
to be assimilated into the clan of Painted People...
...but while Miss Blondie, above, with virtually no personality of her own,
will assimilate seamlessly and become something else again,
will the be-robed "Mary" go as gently into that new world as did, say, "Gaius" from
the Planet of the Apes, who is now Julius...
...now one of the fearless leaders of the PP clans?
Am I getting into dangerous territory here?
Does comparing Mary to a Planet of the Apes character bring up all kinds of weird connotations?
Does Mary as a Painted Person work?
Will she agree to assimilate? Will she have to shut up and stop spouting Biblical passages?
I will have to have her hang out at the studio for a while and see...
Meanwhile, back in New Richmond...
Sherry and I have become two wild and crazy girls!
We pass by the golf clubs...
...and bid adieu to the Christmas characters...
...and I grab a fabulously huge melon from the wonderful garden at Deerfield Manor
...and Sherry grabs the chocolate cake...
...and we celebrate what would have been my father Gordie's ninety-second birthday
were he still with us.
Which maybe he is because the candles won't blow out after we make our wishes.
They keep coming back to life over and over again.
We finally have to burn our fingers to douse them in the sink.
Then again, Gordie did have quite the sense of humor...
After all is said and done, I can't help think that this little resident of New Richmond's Deerfield Manor
knows more than all of us.