Monthly Archives: September 2007

Fall Song, Mary Oliver

Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

~Mary Oliver

In the fading light…

In the fading light, they roofed. The roof is now a light gray (not black). A new skylight light’s my tiny office. You can see it still covered on the roof.

Mike and his two sons (Mike the Younger and Terry) roofed the home this fall. I feel well tucked in for winter. They worked thru all weather, including two evenings of rain. They worked into the dark with a large spotlight shining. This is a view from the backyard.

I am always amazed at Mike the Elder, my magic man, who after this amazing feat of roofing a house and garage walks around as a powerhouse of a man with biceps strong, sunnned face, sore muscles. I am glad that I am a massage therapist with a waiting bottle of arnica oil. Afraid of heights, all I could offer were hot dinners and a well run home.

The three of them deserve a blog entry for their work. And some applause.

Day at the Beach

Today in Marquette, Michigan we were blessed with unseasonably warm weather, 81 degrees! I believe this is a new record for this day in the Upper Peninsula, the former record being 72 °F / 22 °C (1968).

I had been hoping for a cool day suitbale for a hike, rooting around in the garden and moving into an Autumnal Mode. But who am I to complain. Soon the Upper Peninsula will be covered in ice and snow, as in this photo taken as I walked around the Glacier Glide Art Show last winter.

The shot is of the sunset side of Presque Isle moving toward the Lombardi Poplar trees and stacks of the power plant in the Upper Harbor area. In the summer, this is the best beach for finding weathered pieces of beach glass. In the winter, as you round the point heading toward the parking lot, you are often hit with a blast of wind causing you to test your skills at walking back to wind in snow shoes.

Take me to the river… (self portrait)

Take me to the river and drop me in the water /Dip me in the river, drop me in the water/ Washing me down, washing me down.

–Talking Heads

It was a difficult week. An emotional week. Many new situtaions and new relvelations of self. I took this self-portrait on the Dead River upstream from the Marquette Tourist Park. I went out hiking with a migraine needing to detox and be washed anew.

Most of my life, I have been a lakeshore girl, having grown up on the beach. But it is the character and flow of a river that can bring me center, now. There are many layers of texture to a river each revealing something new, deeper, a slightly different reflection and perception as you turn over ideas. And there is the song you bring that flows into the song of the river as you walk, or fish, or sit on the bank. The Dead River has many songs, depending on where you approach.

This is a flood plain once contained that broke thru a dam and reformed it’s path. There is a lesson here for me on direction. And on healing.

Being Difficult

Like a difficult boat repair, I have been hard to reach. A bit broken. Feeling old. Needing attention and care. Not quite up to par. Bogging down when throttled. Put me back in the water, and see how I do.

Forgive me.


My Magic Man.

The Close of Summer

The close of summer comes with the close of two art exhibits in Marquette. The Gramma Doors and the doors that lined the new Wright Street extension. The doors on Wright Street had doors with personal imagery and words of a positive nature like Joy, Heal, Grow! They lined the new walkway and then spiraled in a field. These doors often exhibited the enthusiam for life and expression. This exhibit was also the work of Mary Wright who has inspired and organized countless public art exhibits including FinnFest Chairs.

The Wright Street extension now connects from Presque isle Ave. to lakeshore Blvd. This is an area of town where people used ot go to a coffeehouse called Emma Joes. It is a way to get to the bike path that goes out to Presque Isle island. It borders the University’s land where football and socccer practices are commonly held. When the extension went it and curved to Lakeshore Blvd. The space was so empty and devoid of landscaping. It was a great placement for these colorful doors.

Lighting was not always perfect for these door shots. I meant to get back out at differing times of day and let the opportunities pass. I know some of the artists for these doors and they span vast age ranges. Vibrant. Alive. 

How will the landscape look now? Without doors? With the snows to come? Will it leave emptiness? Or a vision for what comes next in Marquette, for community and artists? If you have had a community art installment in your town please leave comment on how it affected you.

According to the TV6 News last night, “Officials from the Marquette Country Convention and Visitors Bureau credit the Gramma Doors with an increase in tourism this summer. “

Today a friend posted…

Today I had a friend post that they were having a midlife crisis. I, too am having a crisis. A call came in from Munising and another person is also in crisis. I have decided it is Autumn Equinox (upcoming) and we are responding to that time of introspection where we look at the year behind us and the remaining year ahead of us. As artists we may be refelcting at our lack of development or achievemnt–frustrated, wanting more time, needing more space, wanting more resources.

It is Harvest. I am reminding myself that it is Harvest. Fruits are all around us.

 Yet, my emotions spill over. I cannot stop tears. I want to shake the earth and have it respond. Or I want to crawl in the hole that my Toad Shaman dug and hide and eat bugs.

Ya know he dug the hole under the baby bush near the thyme and lemon marigold facing the pond and waterfall. He knows how to make a home. I wish I did. But I feel displaced and uproooted.

This life’s lesson has always been about making a home where I go. As a runaway I was never in one place long. As a single mother I moved yearly. Now as a grandmother I want stability.

I want murals and trees. A place to retreat (and create in) that is quiet with a breeze that is cool. I want love, family, and respect. I want my right arm to heal. Fatigue to be a thing of the past. Commitment and a future. Magic. Romance. And dragonflies dancing on the pond.

And to get over myself and my emotions that today are too much.

Harvest and Community

Having to write a short piece on harvest and community means narrowing focus, or should I say settling on a focus. Should I write a first person narrative or write something formal and come at it form a third person approach. I am not sure why I have been blocked on this assignment. Seeking inspiration and direction I went to the Marquette Community Gardens in the back corner of Park Cemetery to snap photos. I went to the Farmer’s Market in the Commons. I bought perennial plant starts from The Chocolay River Gardeners and I watched the Grandma Doors be taken down by NMU student volunteers. Now it is time to sit down and write, edit photos and get this assignment off to the editor of the Marquette Food Coop’s newsletter.

Undergraduate poetry

from the Long Haul 

I’m bored with the 29 days in February

I want to tell the bus driver about watermelons
trucked from Texas and sold at a farm outside the village,
how I miss the blue of Cathead Bay,
that I’m riding the bus because
I fear running out of toilet paper, and
there’s a sale on Kleenex Double Roll at Wal-Mart.
I start to tell the bus driver
August in Northport
meant spiked watermelon at beach parties
and losing virginity in the sand,
but I fade-off before finishing and
watch the jackpine and bare tamaracks flash by.
The airbase is a ghost town;
soon couples will pick blueberries
and caress each other with stained fingers
and tongues.
I fear dependence
and public transportation,
and the young man in the back of the bus
who tells about his toilet habits,
how he once shit in the wastebasket
’cause every time the toilet overflowed
his dad strapped him.
I imagine purple welts
and his dog licking his face, but
my discomfort keeps my eyes on the bus driver’s back.

My husband has gone off to trucking school.
To stay warm on long hauls
he’ll wear his company coat.
I’ll curl up with the labs,
wait, take a mental count
of how many rolls of toilet paper remain in the cupboard,
and watch the ice break up on the Escanaba River.
I’ll write poems of love and loss
to read in August when
my mate brings home a truckload of exotic fruits.
Fruits, to suck on the sand shore
beside brown water,
where leeches hide and wood ticks
fall from the trees.

copyright Kim Nixon

Volunteering at Bay Cliff Health Camp

This week I am attending Bay Cliff Health Camp for a Post Polio Camp where I am massaging the campers. This is the second annual post polio camp/clinic . Where I have not had a private practice the last couple of years, I have massaged at this camp. I meet the greatest people and I come away feeling good about my day’s work. This year I am at Bay Cliff for three days massaging.

Post-Polio Awareness Week is just around the corner, 1 – 7 November. This is a syndrome that effects people who had polio as children and come their 30s or later, Post Polio Syndrome brings many health complications.

Symptoms include slowly progressive muscle weakness, unaccustomed fatigue (both generalized and muscular), and, at times, muscle atrophy. Pain from joint degeneration and increasing skeletal deformities such as scoliosis are common. Some patients experience only minor symptoms. While less common, others may develop visible muscle atrophy, or wasting. (source:

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