As storms blow and die, as we “shout out” our greetings and disagreements,
the woods and shores remain, firm and solid. This winter has discontent for many. A job is gone or going. A mortgage submerges. A budget is ravaged. The future in doubt. A tragic half an Island called Haiti, has unimaginable suffering. The marvelous Vikings... lost it. So much to absorb, yet... listen. Pause a moment. What is it that really matters - when our Earth moves? Food, family, and shelter. Enough to eat. Our own, safe and healthy. A roof and walls, heat and safety. Here in the Northland are blessings enough, mostly. For some, but not for all.
In recent weeks the winter landscape has displayed snow, ice, and frost, to the delight of sledders, fishermen, and photographers. This “solid water” is a reminder of the flowing clear water that the next three months will bring. The silence of a frosty dawn holds this promise. Soon winter-hearty songbirds flutter in to check our feeders. Here in the winter woods, tropical time-shared escapes with their luxuries, seem as though they belong in another world. Once again I focus on “food, family, and shelter.”
A Clean Water Listening Session is coming to this region - TOMORROW! The University of Minnesota has a Water Resources Center that is partnering with the State’s Board of Soil and Water Resources. Together they are traveling statewide in January and February to eight different locations to gather ideas for a 25-year water plan.
Our nearest location to meet these folks, and give them our thoughts, is the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. From 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, February 4th, a session is planned for Citizens and local officials. Water professionals will meet from 12:30 to 3:30, for a two-way status report and checkup, on the first year of the Clean Water Fund.
The two “similar” sessions will both cover the recently-passed sales tax increase, known as the Legacy Amendment, which has started paying more for the arts, trails, wildlife, and water. The sessions will explain this new 25-year plan called the “Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework.” These sessions give folks a chance to have a voice in building this long-term “Framework.”
As a warmup for tomorrow’s meeting, the U’s Water Resource Center has posted a short on-line survey. I went to their website wrc.umn.edu and searched for “Minnesotans and Their Water online survey.” It is a pretty good chance to put your priorities on record. What do you value about clean water? How would you rank its uses? To drink, to grow food, to play, to shelter wildlife, or what?. I hope to see some of you tomorrow in Brainerd.