Making the change from North Shore to Iron Range has brought more than a few comments. On average the gist of commentary circles around why on earth a person would depart the North Shore for a location of less outward appeal. I don’t have a solid answer but can refer readers to a remark by Mark Twain suggesting that the appeal of Heaven was an ideal climate whereas Hell offered a society of far greater appeal. Twain’s observation fits my case fairly well plus I might add that if you’ve ever been on a gala vacation adventure extravaganza you may have found the charms of tinsel to be both thin and transitory. I’ve heard more than one vacationer express deep heartfelt appreciation on returning home to be freed from the strains of the good life. In my case I’d say the Range represents greater diversity than the wealth loving Shore. In short, to me one seems far more real or genuine than the other.

   I’ve been thinking much on how to express distinctions felt and observed in different locations. Along the Shore the trend has been to silence the noisy fog horns and remove the stacks of dirty logs that might offend the eye. Nothing should detract from the experience of sitting on a local veranda with hundreds of others enjoying a concocted view along with a invented brew. On the Range day and night I hear sounds of locomotives going about their business and I can’t think of a single reason to object to the sounds that make so much else possible. In other words, I think, one set is about image, appeal, and marketing while the other is about work, resources, and industry. In the present scheme of things there seems to be a lot more people happily content to take a picture of their meal of fish flown in fresh from Alaska than there are those ready to make one of the steep treks into a wilderness trout lake for an experience far beyond the bounds of a fish food selfie. It’s easier to sit down in comfort to a prepared meal than to catch the fish, clean it, and build a fire etc. to cook it. Both experiences are real, but one has much more depth along with a lot more rough edges that are good for helping to shape character but aren’t as suited for a slick marketing image. It’s easy to capture a beaming face above a plate of food but not so to capture in an image the story of a child catching their first fish on a wild shore. Of the two images it is a sure thing one of them is not done by sitting on one’s rear.

   Another way I’ve come to view my shift from Shore to Range is to look at it in a political sense. Not that a physical move is a political act itself, but we have as people political inclinations that help us characterize and work within the world around us. That in mind and keeping in view I’m being suggestive more than definitive I’d say a difference between Shore and Range is similar to that of former President to the current one. I can’t go a step down that route, however, without saying I am not a particular fan of any form of political falsehood; something our national leaders do far too much of for my tastes. In the past when I’ve said Obama was a dissembling liar I’ve been met with hostility for mouthing so harsh an opinion; one that is usually countered by a firm assertion that Trump is a worse liar. I leave it to others to sort out white from dark lies and to set falseness scales for weighing matters. To me an incorrect or inaccurate statement needs to be amended with better information. Getting it right is more important than dwelling on how bad it is. Also (it’s interesting how this angle is often set aside or ignored) is it better if the misrepresenting individual is likable and believable? Does a lie become good when served on a plate of flattery? I try to be fair and reasonable same as you. We’re able to understand when a person gets some of their facts wrong and misspeaks. We have all done that. We’ve all at times been in error. On the other hand when a misleading and erroneous speech is written in advance of a planned event I begin to wonder about deliberateness of deception. A smiling nice-guy liar delivers no more actual worth than the bumbling fibber. If it’s a used that’s car being sold they’ll each cheat the same amount. And just maybe the clumsy fabricator is more to be trusted for being less polished in deception.

   As a youth ready to hurl my frail frame at an uninterested world I stood ready to be shut of the Range for good and all. Oh sure I knew the quality of Range schools was high and had done me much good, but it was time to move on. After a time, however, the press of urban life proved too much for a Range-bred boy accustomed to popping on his bike with rod and reel to balance out assigned reading with unassigned fishing. A part of my being was contained in the “plunk” of a bobber and the foot track left in black muck where cattails touch shore. It is not a rational thing. I cannot explain why I’m smile at wood ash or a balsam needle in my cup of morning campfire coffee. I can’t tell you why so much solid pleasure rests in those memories, though I will say it often had to do with the quality of my companions. Balsam needle coffee drunk with powdered creamer and ashes is not something shared with just anyone. We’d worked long to get there, make camp, and reach the silent state of perfect being around a fire watched in quiet with red squirrels and whiskey jacks.