Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Small Town Girl

There is so much to tell about the last five days that I am sorely regretting that I have not blogged since the 5th. But, the reason I have not been able to blog is because I've been so busy living it up in the gorgeous north country. On Friday, when I last left you, I was about to head out on a canoe trip for three days along the Crow Wing River. It was a blast. My host and guide was Chris Klein--board member of the NY Mills Cultural Center, my host organization, and pillar of Otter Tail County. Though I was hesitant about planning a three-day wilderness trip with a person I barely knew, Chris and I ended up getting along surprisingly well, and spent much of our time singing and trading views on the world--that is, when we weren't trying to collect wood and cook stews over an open fire. I've become an old hand at the Dutch oven cooking method. Chris also helped me catch up on my Minnesotan, and I'm now getting pretty fluent with my "Ya, wouldn't you know"s and my "You betcha"s.

The Crow Wing River was beautiful: slow-flowing, lined with trees just coming into bud. We couldn't have asked for better weather--65 degrees, sunny, and calm every day. There was great wildlife viewing--I saw a couple of bald eagles, wood ducks, mallards, a musk rat, two beavers, a thousand turtles sunning themselves on logs, and--the piece de resistance--a fisher (a marten/mink like creature with dark brown fur) slinking up a hill.

We finished our stretch of the river midday on Sunday, and decided to extend our adventure with some fly-fishing. Now, I had never fly-fished before, so it was totally new to me. We started with a casting lesson wading in the lake in Glendalough State Park. It was so cool to put on waders and wander out into the lake water. Of course, it was less cool when we learned that my waders leaked, and even less cool when I discovered that a nest of ladybugs had been lodged in the left heel of the waders, and had mostly gotten crushed by my feet. Fishing was so fun that even that carnage didn't discourage me, and part 2 of the fishing lesson included going to the Toad River and fishing for Croppies. Didn't catch anything, but I loved the opportunity to sit in glorious nature with a rod and line dipped in the water, and the occasional cast.

I returned and immediately wrote a song called "Sometimes You Just Gotta Play" (click to listen to my rough demo) and rewrote the chorus of the new song "You found me."

Tuesday night was my first gig in Otter Tail County. I played at Ma's Little Red Barn in Perham, which is perhaps the most darling coffeehouse west of the Mississippi. Ma and her husband Pa--yes, the whole town calls them that--built this flower shop/cafe by reworking an early 20th century building. The audience was lovely, and the third set of my show ended up being an intimate acoustic conversation and song-sharing event, which involved about ten locals who stuck around. I was invited to the local weekly Mexican meal, cooked by Tish originally from Phoenix, and out to a number of other events that make up the local social life. I learned all about how living in this area of Minnesota is like living in a bygone time. And I am amazed to be able to be here and be welcomed into this warm-hearted community.

Today, I'm recovering from the hoopla of the night, and seeing what comes out of today's fatigue. Maybe I'll do some recording. Till next time...

Elisa, I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying reading these entries. The 10th was my birthday, by the way - another one down.
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