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June 2001

6/17/01 – Red and Sis Tabor are back for their umteenth
vacation in the Sawbill Lake Campground. They came up here after
spending the weekend at Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte celebrating
their 50th wedding anniversary with their family.

Sis and Red Tabor after 50 years of matrimony.

Our last new employee for the season arrived this
week. She worked for two days and then trekked to the Twin Cities
to register for the University of Minnesota. She is back now and
learning fast. Shannon Grace has just graduated from Duluth East
High School. She is an experienced BWCA Wilderness camper, having
traveled widely with her parents since she was a small child.
Welcome Shannon 🙂

Shannon Grace

6/16/01 – All is well with the telephone system now. Thanks
for you patience if you had trouble on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I just returned from visiting my daughter, Ruthie Hansen, at
her new apartment in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. She is
continuing her education at the University of Chicago and
working. Many of you will remember her smiling face around
Sawbill over the last 19 years. She is adapting to city life very
well and will be visiting (hopefully) in September.

I also visited briefly the First Congregational Church of
LaGrange. This large suburban Chicago church has been a faithful
Sawbill client for more than 30 years. It was fun for me to
finally put a concrete mental image to a place that has been a
part of my life for so long. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to
visit any of my many LaGrange friends. – Bill

6/12/01 – We will be down to one telephone line here at
Sawbill for the next 24 hours or so as we move our microwave
equipment to the new tower. It looks a lot like the old tower.
Please be patient as all phone calls, Faxes, credit card
purchases and Internet use must vie for time on the old radio
system. Other than that, the weather is beautiful here, and I’m
looking forward to entertaining myself this evening by climbing
one tower and shouting over to the other one.

6/7/01 – In 1996 a fire burned some of the country near South
Temperance Lake. The fire traveled southeast, eventually
extinguishing near Homer Lake. I went to Vern Lake the other day
to explore the burned area. From a distance, floating in the
canoe, the density of regeneration struck me. Spring colors
painted every nook and cranny. I had visited the same area two
weeks after the fire when everything was black or the white of
scorched granite. Now, the green under the wispy dead trees was
thick, like a mat of curly hair. Near where I beached my canoe,
several spruce trunks were stripped clean of their branches by
the fire. Stretching long and pointy into the sky, they were
stunning, seemed like totem poles erected in mute testament to
the conflagration. On closer inspection, I found their charred
skin polished. Small seams of old sap laced the trunks. The
sap’s various shades of amber embedded in the inky black
were brilliant. Nearby, a lone jack pine, completely burned, was
covered in fire-opened cones. It looked like a tree in bloom.
Fanning out from its base was a sea of small jack pines two to
four feet in height. A pair of small falcons, American kestrels,
flew around the area perching on dead treetops. Their rapid,
shrill calls: “kli, kli, kli, kli, kli” were the only
sounds accompanying the wind. As I walked, I came to a growth of
aspens suckering up from the roots of their burned forebears.
They sprawled like a field of mature corn, and I was soon
enmeshed, a bit lost. I exited the aspens and crossed a sloping
hill colonized by blueberries. Judging by the heavy set of
blooms, it seems a good berry season is in store. The
blueberry’s enthusiastic pollinator, the black fly, attacked
me, so I headed for the canoe. I drifted with the blessed wind,
which felt cool and clean sweeping the black flies from my neck,
back to their blueberry duties. I lay down in the canoe, letting
the sky pass by. Two bohemian waxwings perching on a dead spruce
were hawking for insects. Very high in the sky an eagle was
looking around. I stayed in that corner of regenerating forest
all day, my senses aroused and brimful. There is so much going on
in the woods. What a relief to be among it all. – OB