My grandfather and uncles on my mother’s side were dyed-in-the-wool outdoorsmen. They hunted and trapped to put food on the table and knew which forest plants were edible or had medicinal qualities. My uncle Jim Schreiner was a passionate organic gardener and woodsman. He inspired me to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. He subscribed to Organic Gardening and Farming magazine and loaned copies of it to me to read. Euell Gibbons had a standing column in each issue of Organic Gardening and Farming called “The Organic Nature-Lover.” In one of his columns titled “Stalking the Nearby Places,” Gibbons included the following poem:
I know a trail that needs a-walking,
Some friendly talk that needs a-talking;
There are some thoughts that need a-thinking,
A mountain spring that needs a-drinking;
There’s huckleberries need a-picking,
And honey-dew that needs a-licking.
Come, listen to the forest preach,
and learn what woodlands have to teach;
Learn to accept what woods will give,
Learn to relate, learn how to live.
I love this poem because it reminds me of Uncle Jim, and it captures the essence of the journey Deb and I are embarking on. Working with all of you has been a true privilege and a blessing. We will miss our day-to-day contact with you, and you will always own a special place in our hearts as you do your work helping our students transform their lives and assisting our employers in meeting their talent needs. We wish you the best with that ongoing quest. We promise to come back and help but from the sidelines of retirement. If you need a break from work, come and visit us at our cabin up on the Gunflint Trail. Our address there is 268 Soderberg Lane, Grand Marais, MN, 55604. For those of you who are pilots, like my great friend Scott Cabot, the GPS coordinates are N48.071028, W90.540222 (N48°04’15.7″, W90°32’24.8″E). You will always be welcome, and we’ll be thrilled to greet you there — but please let us know you’re coming in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!