Twenty twenty. Covid and a comet, masks and what those folks in Grand Marais call “staying a moose apart” caused many of us to seek safety among those who stubbornly refused to call Covid little more than a hoax. And, in the end, it perhaps surpassed 1968 as the most eventful year of my lifetime. And, it could have been worse!
We’re now just a few weeks from having new sheets on the beds of the White House, a change which will hopefully bring some semblance of peace, compassion and calm from the past four years. With it, too, perhaps an end of this deadly pandemic that is now costing us more people per day just in the United States than who died in 9/11.
Despite the precautions and worry, we still had an eventful and full year. Our highlight was that within our circles of friends no one has died from Covid-19. We discovered, as did many, Zoom “Happy Hours.” With summer came “driveway” gatherings. Bonfires at the lake. Mary’s sister, Trish, a retired nurse, devised a plan where servers for our “potlucks” divided portions into per couple servings, a strategy we carried with us on our multi-couple “caravan” gathering at a Montana state park in September. By then I had “traded” a 20 acre, land-locked piece of timber for a R-Pod camper trailer that Mary and I used for trips to state parks in Minnesota as well as on our trip to the “Big Sky.”
Art-wise, I had a single exhibit at the Marshall Fine Arts gallery. No Meander, nothing much at all. This didn’t stop the “creating” for both of us, thankfully, and what had become an annual pilgrimage to the Lake Bemidji Lake State Park in search of the Dragon’s Mouth orchid finally paid off. Rather than being too early or too late, we actually found and photographed three of them.
Our nature visits were godsend. Not just in the bogs. We had some splendid moments in the prairie as well. For about a week we made repeated visits to a couple of “melt” potholes where a huge flock of snow and blue geese had stopped for rest and refreshments. We made it to the Johanna Lake Esker at different times, and walked both our prairie here and the Griffin land near Lake Linka. The nearby Big Stone Lake State Park and the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge were visited regularly. We also journeyed to the Gunflint Lodge for a Northern Lights event that didn’t happen, with a highlight of watching a wolf chomping on sunflower seeds well after midnight that we had dropped just outside our window for the birds.
All those trips, and especially the two major ones — to Montana in September and our pre-pandemic Texas through Virginia journey in January — were really the highlights personally and photographically. We had just begun the rehab following Mary’s knee replacement when the pandemic lock-down began. Here is my annual “display” of some of my works for the year. Here’s to a more normal new year: