Curtis Dahlgren
The Upper Peninsula, part 2: Finding True North without an Interstate sign
By Curtis Dahlgren
September 30, 2011

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time." — Abraham Lincoln (at Clinton, Illinois; September 8, 1858)

RURAL PEOPLE ARE HARDER TO FOOL. And rural people in the far north — who breathe our oxygen-enriched air — are some of the hardest to fool. We're not just beyond the Beltway, we're beyond the cities altogether. And the molecules in cold air are closer together — thus the high-oxygen air. Well, it's not cold yet, so I'm going to take it easy and re-post an excerpt from my March 8, 2008 column (which was an excerpt from the Intro to "Massey-Harris 101; a Letter to Generations X, Y, and Z." — "Finding True North"):

"Read the best books first, or you may not be able to read them at all." - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"The words of the wise are like cattle prods." — King Solomon

"The trouble with our age is all signpost and no destination." — Louis Kronenberger

Dear Generation "Z":

I'm an old geezer. You probably feel sorry for us guys and hope we just "move along" so we don't hog all the Social Security money you need for your "disabilities" (due to addictions). As for drugs, you've probably done 'em all, but we're sick and tired of paying for your drugs when we can hardly afford to buy a bottle of aspirin! "And besides that":

YOU THINK YOU'VE JUST ABOUT DONE IT ALL? Ha! I feel "sorry" for you!

If you think crap music is awesome, but you've never heard the corn grow, or total silence - I'm sorry about that; you ain't heard "nothin'" yet!

If you think that shooting up is "awesome," but you've never smelled the approach of a much-needed thunderstorm still over the horizon, you ain't done nothin' yet.

If you think that snorting stuff is awesome, but you've never experienced the smell of newmown hay, sorry about that; you haven't done zilch!

If you think that Hollywood skin flicks are awesome, but you've never seen a pair of bald eagles swooping across the water one foot above the river, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

If you think that a Hollywood seduction scene is awesome, but you've never seen a female wolf trying to lure your own dog across the river and into the woods, you ain't seen squat!

If you think that Hollywood premiers or the Oscars are exciting, but you've never helped deliver a newborn calf, you ain't done nothin' yet.

If you think that illegal drugs are awesome, but you've never tasted home-made maple syrup or the sweet part of a clover blossom, sorry about that!

If you think that getting 'high' is awesome, but you've never climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot mountain, you ain't done nothin'!

If you think that "hip-hop" is what's happening, but you've never seen badgers in the wild, or never watched otters running on the river and belly-flopping on the ice, sorry for you!

If you think "cruising chicks" is cool, but you've never been driving down the road and seen a bald eagle chasing a mallard duck in mid-air (and rescued the duck by distracting them), you ain't seen anything "cool"!

You think she thinks you're so COOL, but if you've never found a bear den, never seen a four-foot muskie, never pullled a rattlesnake out of the ground with your bare hands, nor shined a flashlight into a bear's eyes, I'm not impressed.

If you think that a teen-aged "score" is great, but you never hit a pinch-hit triple in a real hardball game, you ain't done nothing, Jack!

If you think Las Vegas and San Francisco are awesome, but you've never seen Niagara Falls or the world's largest tree, you ain't seen nothing!.

If you think the city life is "what's up," but you've never looked up at the sky and seen stars so dazzling that you almost got whiplash, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

If you think that cell phones are awesome, but you've never been lost in the Northwoods where cell phones don't work, nor compasses (because of the iron in the ground), and got a glimpse of the sun through the clouds just long enough to know True North, you ain't done anything at all!

If you think that Manhattan and Chicago are awesome, but you've never known anyone from Manhattan, Kansas (or anywhere in Kansas), you don't know the first thing.

You think you're so blasted COOL, but if you've never gotten around to knowing your Creator, dittoes that!

I may be part hick and part jock, but I'll tell you one thing: I graduated from high school, and if you ain't even done that, what have you really "DONE" yet? To use the correct word this time, you haven't done much of anything at all, so what makes you think that Youth "rules"?

I hate to tell you, but — Youth doesn't "rule." The Law of Nature rules! The day I got lost in northern Minnesota, I was really, really "lost" — and I believe quite factually that the God of Nature and my forefathers opened up the sky for three seconds or so, just enough to enable me to find True North, and get to a road by dead reckoning. Otherwise, I would have had to spent a very cold night out in the national forest. Incidentally, the reason I got lost was my own fault — for "doing something stupid" (I didn't mark the trail I came in on, which would have allowed me to retrace my footsteps). For those who hate history, there might be a lesson in there for you someplace. America needs to retrace her footsteps. As someone once said:

"God forgives; man sometimes forgives; Nature never forgives!"

Yours truly,

The Old Man

P.S. Speaking of getting fooled — and burned by "Nature":

"Guided by Alinsky principles, post-Communist radicals are not idealists but Machiavellians. Their focus is on means rather than ends, and therefore they are not bound by organizational orthodoxies in the way their admired Marxist forebears were . . they are flexible and opportunistic and will say anything (and pretend to be anything) to get what they want, which is RESOURCES AND POWER." — David Horowitz

PPS: Happy Feast of Trumpets, world.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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