Angelo Loy, who previously offered us the powerful film, Tropic of Chaos, has now offered people who visit this website to watch Losing Ground, his new film about climate migrants in Bangladesh. Join with me in celebrating these people and in finding ways to support them. Above is the trailer. To watch the film itself, go […]

On Saunas and Silences
April 22, 2024

My great-grandparents may never have said they were Swedish. Perhaps they said nothing more than that they came from Värmland County in Sweden and, standing back in silence, let others assume. The others were the ones who told me my grandma was a Swede from Värmland. None of them mentioned that Värmland was the forest […]

Showing up for Grendel
April 5, 2024

Grace Harnois – by lucky fate my daughter-in-law – hosts a super-cool podcast. Last month she invited me to talk with her about John Gardner’s Grendel because we have both had soft spots for Grendel and his tormented mother more than we have for that hard-hearted hero Mr. Beowulf. Grendel and his mom were likely […]

Pictured here the immigrant Anderson Family: Bottom row – Lars, Mabel, and Lisa; Top row –  Mathew, Levi, and Alma The Mystery Even as children, my siblings and I knew we were mostly Norwegian. (We must have known we were legally Americans, but we never called ourselves that.) Our mother’s father (morfar in Norwegian) came […]


Some of you may remember from Watershed that one of my brothers was developing a method of using native Minnesota bacteria from swamps and Minnesota iron to remove sulfate from water that has been impacted by closed taconite mines. This process is of greater importance to me now since the lake I wrote about, Birch Lake, […]

How does a city watershed flow?
September 14, 2020

This piece describes the watershed of my city home, was written for Transition Town – All Saint Anthony Park, and was published in the Park Bugle in March of 2020. Half to three-quarters of your body is water. Of the earth’s surface, about 70% is water. Where did the water in you come from? When […]

For the Sea, All Watersheds’ End
January 12, 2021

In spring of 2018, I took a forty-day trip, traveling mostly by train, getting off to write and to visit my grown children. For two weeks I stayed among cypress trees in Northern California and walked each day to a shed where I wrote as quail bobbed by. There I was able to write the […]

Letting Go of 161
August 4, 2022

[This is a piece I wrote years ago that will not let go of me. I post it now in honor of my colleagues in Community Colleges who still welcome and love 161 or more students each term.] Letting Go of 161 I have just posted grades. The last of the 161. August 24th we […]

Strawberry Birthmark
February 10, 2021

“Did your dad tell you about the strawberry birthmark?” my aunt asked. I was driving north with her on 35 in the summer of 1989, an occasional moth splattering plumply against the windshield. “What’s a strawberry birthmark?” I asked, glancing quizzically at Aunt Dorothy in the passenger seat. Her silver hair fanned out along the […]

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