Wildersmith – Autumn Reflections – 2021
Whereas I have relocated nearly six hundred miles south of Gunflint territory, my heart remains in the magnificent northern paradise. A day doesn’t go by where some memory of time in the Gunflint woods doesn’t cross my mind. “You can take the man out of the woods, but not the woods out of the man, and his wife.”
It seems beyond belief the Smith’s have been gone from Gunflint Lake shores and the Mile O Pine over three months already. Like living in the woods, time at our new digs has no limits in regard to flying by.
While one might ask what keeps me busy now with none of the usual up north chores, I can’t really tell, but my days seem to always be filled with the hub bub of suburban goings-on and settling in a new home.
At the moment, I hold fast to the memory of autumn starting to make its final curtain call along the Trail. In spite of the calendar season being less than a month old, the mosaic of a border country fall must be trickling to earth, building yet another layer of russet material that will in a thousand years, add an inch of good earth.
As the north woods autumn transition progresses, I cherish the times and marvel at the natural happenings all around. A trek down the Mile O Pine always dished up the special splendor of “Mother Nature’s” endeavors. After a million years, the “old Gal” has surely been road tested with the business of natural wonderment, especially this time of year.
Although I’ve followed the Gunflint summer journey through hot/dry atmospheric conditions and considerable wildfire danger, it would be my guess a frosty morning or two have already sparkled in the early morning sunshine. And, it is my hope recent showers have helped quench the thirsty forest.
For me, twenty-two years living in the Gunflint Community was forever exciting with anticipation. When might the first ice form on puddles, swamps and smaller ponds, and when would the first of white flakes signal the beginning of my favorite time of the year.
Equally important was hustle and bustle of the “getting ready” for winter. While this could be tedious work, the chores were a labor of love as I look back. I knew these tasks were just a prelude as the “great spirit of the north” was rounding the bend, heading our way with the beauty of cold adventure and crystal pureness.
Not to forget friends in our “wild neighborhood”, they too worked in the “preparation mode” diligent to their concern for survival during the months ahead. Whether it was avian over head on a southerly mission or stopping by for a brief visit on their journey, or four-legged earth bound critters collecting for a vittles stash, observing such was, and is, a source of shear enjoyment. The fascination of animals putting on their winter coats, shedding an antler or locating a place to hole up for six months or so, will forever be etched into my northland image bank.
It goes without saying many wonderful opportunities came my way during the Gunflint years. Most important, they were made richer by the fine people of the Gunflint Community, and the WTIP radio family of listeners.
It is timely that I file this autumnal reflection at a time of the stations’ fall membership campaign. Remaining an ardent supporter of this Northshore broadcasting phenom, I encourage all to join if you have never done so, or to re-up with a show of love through your dollar donations.
WTIP has stood the test of time due to listener sustenance, dedicated volunteers and superior staff leadership. This “little station that could” is certainly “Road Tested Radio” and worthy of continued backing. Won’t you please step up again?
In closing, I’m telling all of you WTIP Listener/website readers, the Smith’s still have the Gunflint and Arrowhead on our minds. And the hope is everyone is enjoying the wonderful northland autumn as I recall some of our times amongst you.
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, always a Gunflinter, where every day was, and is great! Keep on hangin’ on, happy holidays and I’ll echo more during the winter.
Wildersmith on the Gunflint is supported in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.