My journey began the summer of 2006 in Owosso, Michigan where I lived for ten years with my husband and six children. Don’t be too impressed, I didn’t give birth to them all, we are a meshed family, but a family all the same and I love them all as if they were my own. Most of our family vacations were long weekends to the upper peninsula of Michigan. The only place I found solace. My heart was heavy on the trip back and my husband and I fantasized about moving to the U.P. buying a tiny cabin on a lake surrounded by forest. It was not practical and selfish for us to consider uprooting our children from the only home they could remember, so we patiently waited. The summer of 2006 marked the milestone of all children graduating from high school. It was time - our time! I was on the search for a job in the north, what I thought would be the U.P. of Michigan.
Fortunately a fairy godmother found me, and of course as fairy godmothers go, much wiser than I, took pity upon me, and paved the way for my journey home. I had three job offers in northern Minnesota and no prospects in the U.P. My husband and I decided why not investigate. The first company did not offer enough salary so I turned it down. The second offer was from Arctic Cat. Thief River just did not feel like home. The third offer from a company not far from Bemidji seemed just right. (I know – too Goldilocks – sorry) I flew into Bemidji airport for my interview and immediately sighed and said…..HOME! I rushed to the interview, accepted their offer, rushed back home to tell my husband that I have found our paradise; Much more beautiful than what we imagined. Two weeks later I was in a manic dash to pack and start my first day of work. In keeping with my Goldilocks theme, there was a bear involved (or if you choose a Big Bad Wolf both villains are appropriate) and just over a year after my first day I left the company. Once again my fairy godmother stepped in. This, like other fairy tales has a touch of irony. The company that offered me a job when I thought no one ever would (long story and too negative to elaborate) happened to be the first offer I turned down, Nortech Systems. Forgive me for not noticing what this company had to offer, I had yet to learn that what seems like a frog is truly a prince! (Yes again with the fairy tale theme!)
The past three and half years in this little piece of heaven have been the most inspiring time of my life. I have grown as an artist, mother, wife and person. I am no longer that tightly wound woman that was ready to stress out about any issue, frazzled to the point where getting out of bed took all the energy I could muster. I turned from a puppet to a real girl! (Yes now a Pinocchio theme) Life here in Bemidji has taught me to slow down, take in the magnificent landscape and wildlife, breathe in all the beauty and diversity that Bemidji and life has to offer. So, in essence, I was RE-BORN and raised in Bemidji.
My artistic outlet has been landscape and wildlife photography. I was only inspired to take photos when I was in the Upper Peninsula, which was only one maybe two times a year for long weekends. Now I find it hard not to photograph, document, and share the beauty that envelops me, much of it in my backyard on Stump Lake. Yes I got my cabin on a lake surrounded by forest and a state game refuge at that!
Hmmmm… I love drinking my coffee on my deck at sunrise listening to the loons, chickadees and that friendly call of the Phoebe – PHEEBEEE, PHEEBEE. The various woodpeckers lend their percussions on the pines and a determined little sapsucker has taken up the cymbals by drumming on the metal around my chimney all the while the wind whispers through the pines. I am hypnotized into complete bliss. And NO, this is not in cartoon format with the birds landing on my shoulder and I am singing back at them this is no fairy tale – it is my fantastic life! I never imagined having such an incredibly beautiful place to live.
In the evenings I can either set in my living room or on my deck and watch the family of deer browse the yard to see if there is any leftover bird seed to feed on. In the fall the bucks begin to claim their territory and you can hear them thumping their feet on the ground or the clashing of antlers. Not to be out done, the quail flap their wings and I am amazed that a bird can make such a thunderous noise. I find myself torn - watch the wildlife or the amazing colors of the sun setting over Stump Lake.
Last summer, while fishing for perch at the end of my dock, I caught a nice size perch. I tossed it behind me in the grass for my cocker spaniel, Oreo, to lick. That is her job – fish licking and she takes it very seriously! Then a SWOOOOOP just above my head and as I looked up a bald eagle had just flew inches above me. Wow, I thought to myself, how cool and he even has a fish in is talons! Then it dawned on me, “Hey, there is no water behind me where did he get that fish!” Yes, lesson learned, when you live up here you can’t leave fish lying around – eagles tend to think it is fast food!
Yet another favorite Bemidji pastime I enjoy is a Mississippi cruise from our dock to Lake Bemidji. The trip from Stump Lake to Lake Bemidji is so picturesque and bursting of wildlife. I have seen large families of white pelicans, the ever majestic blue heron, and the daredevil kingfisher diving from a high branch that most certainly looks like a suicide mission to catch a fish or frog for a tasty meal. There is this charming home with a rope hanging from a tree that you will occasionally see kids swinging off from and falling into the refreshing water. The gateway to paradise starts right in my back yard.
I suppose you wonder if I miss my children. Well they never gave me the chance. Five out of six of my kids have moved to Bemidji, or very close to Bemidji. They love the area just as much as my husband and I do. What can I say; they inherited their good taste from me!
I have just recently found a new fairy godmother that has encouraged, supported and help make my dream of sharing my art with the world come to fruition. Christina Thorne at Bad Cat Creations is kindly showcasing my photography. It is not the average photograph. I create kaleidoscopes from my photos. It is my interpretation of the wonders of nature. I have been on a marathon of creativity and Bemidji is my muse! I have just learned that my artwork has been accepted to the Bemidji Community Art Center’s Art in the Park this July. I am thrilled as this is one of my favorite events that Bemidji offers. I am so proud to be a member of a community that supports and appreciates the arts. I love to walk downtown and revel at the amazing sculptures decorating the corners and store fronts. It is one of the first things I will show family that comes to visit. First Friday art walks is one of the best opportunities to view artist’s latest work and find a unique gift for someone special, or a centerpiece for a room.
For me there is no other place to live. Bemidji is full of culture, natural resources and the most hospitable citizens I have had the pleasure to meet.
And I live happily ever after…………..