Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving feels odd, and not just because of the Coronavirus-19 that is ravaging our nation and the Western world. This is in reality, the first Thanksgiving in a “Post-America” that is, in an America that is in reality no longer America.

This Thanksgiving 2020 comes on the heels of last Summer when huge numbers of anti-social, anti-American, anti-Western citizens were rioting, burning and destroying vast amounts of business and properties in the name of “social justice.”

In fact, for the first time in our history, millions upon millions of our fellow “Americans” (American in name only) despise Thanksgiving and the American tradition and Anglo-English culture that gave rise to it.

These various ethnic groups and their white social justice allies see race (non-white races) as the primary lens through which they see history and the world. Millions of Mexicans, Indians, Africans and Asians in America see our Thanksgiving holiday as “alien” and a, “symbol of oppression and genocide.”

They have no interest in becoming “American” in any meaningful sense of the word, or in sharing our traditions and holidays.

In short, they want Thanksgiving abolished and replaced with some other made-up Holiday that celebrates “diversity and inclusion” and relegates Thanksgiving and the Anglo-English culture that gave rise to it into the dust bin of history.

This Thanksgiving of 2020 is a time when America is fighting a “cold-war” civil war for the soul of who we are as a nation.

One side, my side, wants to keep the America that we grew up in with it’s traditions, customs and values.

The other side, made up of various “Woke” groups and individuals who want to raze the old America to the ground and destroy it’s traditions and holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I make no apologies for wanting to keep MY America; the one where we all gathered around a Thanksgiving table and gave thanks.

The Lake

Just by happenstance, pure luck really, I came across a blog entry by singer-songwriter Dave Simonett who talks about the beauty and power of “The Lake” aka Lake Superior and the North Shore of Minnesota.

Although he is not a “native” of Duluth, Dave Simonett first saw the lake and visited Duluth when he was 12 years old and was smitten. He later moved to Duluth and made the North Shore his home from which he drew inspiration for much of his music.

Here are parts of Dave Simonett’s essay on “The Lake.”

Honestly, he writes much better than I ever could.

In his book, Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols describes what he calls the “Blue Mind Effect”: The “calm, peacefulness, unity, and sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” that the human mind receives in the presence of a large body of water. Psychology Today writes about a study in which cancer patients suffering chronic pain were shown a video that included 15 minutes of water sounds; ocean waves, waterfalls, creeks etc. According to the study, they all experienced a 20-30% reduction in the stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol. Water has a profound effect on all of us. Not only are we composed mainly of the stuff, its presence in our presence brings us a great level of serenity. I imagine deep in our DNA the sight of clean water evoked such a feeling of relief and safety that it has traveled through eons of human generations right here to you and me. Here in Minnesota, Lake Superior is our largest stress-hormone-reducing-satisfaction-with-life-in-the-moment mecca. When I started my life’s work as a musician that lake composed the entire view out of my otherwise shabby apartment window and I’ve often thought about its relationship to artistic creation. Why do I enjoy simply staring at that thing? Why do I feel such a magnetic pull by her even when I am far away? In my experience, the entire lakeshore is filled with artists, though they are of course much more physically separated than their urban counterparts. Even now, though I live in Minneapolis, I still often travel north to be near Lake Superior when I want to write. There is just something about that enormous, frigid lake that brings to life a deeper part of those who gaze upon her.

In the early 2000s, being a musician in Duluth was, to me, quite an exciting experience. There was a dedicated and wonderful DIY music scene in which originality and grit were encouraged, if not downright demanded. Like the well-worn building and bumpy streets of the town itself, a certain blue-collar mentality was married to the music there, and polish and perfection were looked upon with suspicion. Duluth is a dusty city. Echoes of its past life as the wealthy home of mining magnates still bounce off the hillside, but little of that life remains today. Duluth is also a beautiful city. Perched on a massive hill overlooking the connection of the St. Louis River to the biggest freshwater lake in the world, its views are dramatic. The peace and the violence of the Lake is in the forefront of each day.

The Lake (capitalized here and throughout in deepest respect) not surprisingly, is the center of all culture in Duluth. The sun rises over her in the morning and in the deep night she looks like the edge of the world. One cannot walk a block without witnessing her, and her moods and motions are a constant and primal reminder of our frail human form. Living near Lake Superior is not for everybody. Spring comes a month later than it should, summer often doesn’t show up until July, and fall begins in August. Then there’s the oft-mentioned winter. All of this bringing about the old cliche, “The coldest winter I ever saw was summer in Duluth.” I have not done a psychological study of its residents, but I’d guess that there would be some similar personality traits threading through the entire population. At least those old enough to be there by personal choice. There is a mental toughness and a physical durability needed to live there. I have heard more whining about being cold in my time in relatively balmy Minneapolis than I ever heard in Duluth. No one whines about the weather there. Of course you’re cold, you’re in Duluth. If you don’t want to be cold don’t be in Duluth. Even the musicians don’t whine about the weather and we a group that is famous for whining. When people get sick of it they simply leave. And, many times, they return; unable to live happily away from their mother. One’s relationship with the natural world is magnified in the presence of that seemingly borderless and mysterious Lake. To live next to her is to move with her, to put it simply. I believe this is translated directly into the music, that is made there. Even the beautiful and peerless harmonies of the Duluth band Low are brought about with a certain darkness… there is a sharp edge underneath a lot of the music in that city. Like my parents are out of work and I am doing this because I fucking want to kind of bands. Whereas a more peacefully weathered locale may produce a folk singer, Duluth produced Charlie Parr. One food in the grave. There were bands that were legendary in the Central Hillside of Duluth that was never heard of even as nearby as the Twin Cities. Giljunko, ed by brilliant and somewhat understated songwriter Mark Lindquist, was one of my favorite bands in the world. Their shows, when they all got on stage anyway, were the picture of Duluth grunge rock intensity. The Lake is a symbol of infinity and mortality. It’s bound to leak into the songs.