Each fall and spring since 1996 we’ve loaded students aboard one of the Padelford Packet boats at Harriet Island. Their mission is to learn about how they are connected to this amazing body of water. The joint project between the Padelford Company, the DNR, and the Science Museum of Minnesota is called the Big River Journey. Six times a day we squeeze fifteen to twenty fifth and sixth graders into the wheelhouse to talk about the school subjects that help a person become a riverboat pilot. Anyone who thinks smaller classroom size has no impact on the quality of education can come spend a day of Big River Journey with me.Print This Post
it is impossible to miss the red bird
the only ember alive
this snowy March...
We were halfway around Como Lake when I heard it—the long mournful three-tone whistle-cry that grew in volume. I stopped. What is that? What is that? I know that sound. But it was utterly out of context, and I had to think to place it. The bird called again. I stopped Doug and made him take out his earbuds. (He was listening to American Music Club on his iPod.) Doug, I hear a loon!Print This Post
Pale vision on an early day:
two gray wings gliding flat
balance on the body’s straight line.
A trill rises from the meadow....
I raise my baton,
a rake, a half-chewed stick:
dry leaves crackle, snap
tympani for the horn toot
of geese flying south.
The first time I met the Bird Man at Dunn Brothers about three years ago, he introduced himself as Mark, but he added that if I wanted to, I could call him Smooth. I wondered why Mark, somewhere in his forties, with a daily scruff, a casual concern for his hairstyle, and an everyday outfit of jeans with a workman's jacket, was called Smooth.Print This Post