Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Guest Post: Carl Brookins on Change and Legacy

If you have not read books by Carl Brookins you have no idea what good stuff you are missing. I have been a huge fan of his for years now. Please welcome Carl to the blog today as he has a few thoughts about the inevitability of change and legacy…

Currently, the novel I’m promoting is titled The Inside Passage. It’s a sailing adventure that relates the story of one man’s transformation from a conservative, strait-laced hard-working businessman who always followed the rules, to a more self-sufficient, flexible individual who seeks justice through any fair means, while necessarily pushing the boundaries a bit. It’s a story of evolution and change.

Change will occur in January with the swearing in of a new president. In 1973 after my family moved back to the Twin Cities, we found a lovely piece of property on the bluffs of the upper St. Croix when the widow of a local farmer sold and moved her young family to a more hospitable location. We build a crude cabin and had an occasional garden. As the years passed a replacement for the crude cabin was necessary. We mounted a project involving a group of friends and erected a geodesic dome after a design by Buckminster Fuller and supplied as a pre-cut package by a local company. Time passed and we acquired a gas-fired refrigerator, a propane range and built a sleeping loft. Long rope swings from mature oaks allowed the growing gaggle of children to swing excitedly out and back over the brush and snow-clogged ravine.

The passing of the years saw the farmer who leased the open fields for crops and pasture go into retirement and the land went fallow. We continued to host rural weekend camping parties for scores of colleagues and friends, roasting whole hogs, sides of beef and birds over open pit fires built of the downed oak trees from our little preserve. Friends brought beloved pets to bury in remote areas of our forest grove and we skied the narrow deer trails, hauled water and firewood on toboggans by snowshoe and marveled at the solitude and even the random snowmobile tracks of trespassing neighbors. A few hunters helped keep the wild life in check.

With the departure of our tenant farmer, we decided to re-forest the open fields. We acquired thousands of white pine and red oak seedlings and over yet another weekend of partying, with help from the DNR and a local farmer who supplied a tractor, we consumed great quantities of beer, ate steaks and hamburgers and with many friends, planted sweeping groves of trees, trees which have now grown to forest-sized maturity visible from space, trees that are re-enriching the land to what it once was after the glaciers receded. 

Now, years have passed and we grow older and less able to tramp through the underbrush and up the steep bluffs. We have decided to sell the land, a place I visit only occasionally now, yet one filled with fine and rich memories of children growing, of family outings, tenting and tussling with sleeping bags and cooking gear, of carpentry, and hide and seek. I recognize the flowers that blossomed and enriched our lives, even for only a single season. I hear from the hunters who ranged across the open fields and accept their thanks and recognition for the good memories are what remain.

The land will soon belong to the state and become a part of one of Minnesota’s fine state parks which abut our property on two sides. We hope the state will remove the little detritus left which reveals the occupancy of those who benefited from that land, and we will see nature continue to reclaim its rightful own.

Yesterday we received the expected certified letter signifying that the state will exercise its option to purchase the property in question and our names will be inscribed on the title abstract as former owners. Fences and signs will appear and we will become subject to the state park rules like all citizens of the state.

Another milestone has passed, another family change carefully executed. It is the passage of time, the rotation of the stars, the inner adjustments of life, inevitable and inexorable. Although I now rarely visit this land, this anchor to windward, I will miss its presence, the sure knowledge it was there to be enjoyed, when it is gone.

Carl Brookins ©2016

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brookins and his wife are avid recreational sailors. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.

He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney. The third novel is Old Silver. His new private investigator series features Sean NMI Sean, a short P.I. The first is titled The Case of the Greedy Lawyers. Brookins received a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota and studied for a MA in Communications at Michigan State University.



jrlindermuth said...

Change is part of life. We may not always like it, but accept it we must. Enjoyed reading the post.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Big time thanks to Carl Brookins for being a part of things today. Much appreciated.