Lillian’s Song

It’s easy for me to write about fall. In “Moby Dick” Herman Melville wrote that all things in nature carry a greater meaning, the wind, waves, storms and creatures were merely a mask covering a deeper, epic meaning.   In his way of thinking, everything was a pawn in the greater conflict between the forces of good and evil.

That may be true, but I can find little that is sinister in the things of fall. My favorite life experiences live in my memories of autumn. Here’s one I’ll share with you. Lillian Osander was a farm lady who owned the land my Dad and his friends hunted on by North Turtle Lake in Ottertail County. I was in my teens when she was in her 80’s, and I thought of her as a second grandmother. She was kind-hearted to everyone – it was her way of life. Peder Osander, her husband, had been bed-ridden with a stroke and Lillian could never leave him for long. She used to love the outdoors, so I would stop and see her and Peder before I joined my Dad and his friends at our duck hunting cabin.

Sometimes I would ask Lillian if she wanted to go out with me and sit in a duck-boat on Redhead Bay. She always said yes. I would motor over and pick her up on shore behind her farm. We would drift in the tall “pencil grass” and watch the ducks come in and land on the bay. Sometimes, if we were fortunate, we would see the redwing blackbird migration. Hundreds of thousands of the raucous birds would appear in a great flock in the Northern sky of North Turtle Lake. Every bird in the flock was sounding. The flock was an undulating cylinder of souls, taking up to twenty minutes to cross over the lake and then over our heads. Their wings were a roar like water rushing over a falls. Their song was almost deafening. They would all land in the oak and maple trees between us and Lillian’s farm. Every branch, every twig was occupied by a singing redwing. It was a sight and sound like no other – but it was nothing compared to the joy on Lillian Osander’s countenance.

If fall is a mask, it is mine to remember.

September energy tip: Fill your heating fuel tank. Don’t wait for the propane or fuel oil to run out – it could damage your furnace. Also, if you run out, your heating fuel provider may charge you extra for an emergency fill trip.

Tri-CAP September 2018 Blog

By Stephen Bjorklunc