The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sub Terra Vita: Chronicle #13—Eternal Summers

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz

Chronicle #13—Eternal Summers

In the days of growing up, summer in Osceola wound its way, all too sudden, to the bleak cold of Wisconsin's winter. Too fast, the events of living around the village ran kids ragged—running, biking, boating, and for a lucky few Air Explorer Scouts, flying—to memories of our youth always wasted on the young.

We did: swimming lessons at Sand Lake; youth T-ball at the top of the eighth street hill, or youth baseball inside the old track field north of the much smaller airport; spent days at beaches on Little Round Lake or the river landing; field trips with the summer youth program; scurried the glen, by concrete steps or hand-on-trees, under and around the Cascade Falls; weekday, weekend, or week-long canoe and boat trips between Interstate Park as far as Stillwater; fished for trout in the Upper Mill Pond along Second Avenue; played the woods, swamps and streams between Cascade Street and Schillberg's farm.

At some point, summer would end, but not before the hot days of late August, when the heaviness of breeze-less night air trumbled as the Soo Line train rolled through the village, blaring its horn at the intersection. Yes, the busy days of summer turned into the drudgery of school, until next summer vacation. Once school began, I remember well the last reprieve from the coming un-reprieved rain, cold, snow (lots of it) and ice. Early in our school year, early September, on the anticipated Friday, the teachers of the elementary school led their young classes by columns and hands in a mass exodus, like ancient tribes following wizened prophets, to the “land of cotton candy and sno-cones.”

We gathered in the very large playground, walked the paved trail out the gate leading onto Chieftain Street, and down to the fair grounds behind the grandstand of the venerable Oakey Park. At the Osceola Community Fair, we met parents or others waiting for us, in this temple flat of our of summer ritual. The trinkets, the food, the rides—most of all the rides-- thrilled us as they do most young people today at the larger, mega-amusement parks. Simpler, perhaps, in technology; but awesomely exciting in our “nostalgeries” remembered.

Even pre-car, -crafts, and -airport show, the fair offered the wonder. Its Friday night highlight took place in the outfield of Oakey Park, when the dynasty-era varsity football teams still played on that hallowed gridiron. Saturday morning, the ribbon judging done in the tin building—of foods and wares, etc—the tractor pull, wherever it would fit, brought the crowd. The afternoon kid's costume contest meant some lucky bunch would ride the flatbed truck in the Sunday parade up Cascade Street. The fair recovered a little summer, but the crowning of the royalty Sunday night on the stage in the infield, officially ended summer in Osceola, as the crowd thinned and the Midway lights glowed low in a dusk coming toward the autumnal equinox. It meant bedtime at some point, for Monday, the real school year started its grind.

Community fairs, festivals, shows, the ones steeped in experience, add much of the meaning of why we live where we do, and brings us to the root of some important things for life. The Osceola fair does have its memories for many, and as things rightfully change, we expect and hope others, young and old, make memories the same way. To meet, to show; to celebrate, to see. The challenge of youth means growing into and with the meanings of their times and places. The challenge of the older, means sharing values among us that help set the perspective aright when ships tilt in the storms of change, in the sense of root and purpose, strong and growing. All moments belong to the living. For young and old, we can live eternal summers in Osceola, together and in parts, but unending in meaning nonetheless, as long as we live it, true.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Sub Terra Vita: Chronicle #12—Stewardship & the Interests of Community

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
August 10, 2015

Chronicle #12—Stewardship & the Interests of Community

Defining the Terms1:Stewardship: “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” Community: “a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood);” or “a group of people who have the same interests.”

All politics is local,” said a late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Thomas “Tip” O'Neill. All decisions of great importance made by power-brokers, money-men, generals, and legislatures, all reduce themselves to the consent, vote, or support of the women and men on Main Street, Everywhere.

From another perspective—the facts on the literal ground where we live—one can flip that axiom to arrive at another truth, not easily or willingly recognized: “Not all issues need to divide people; and not all solutions require government action.” In fact and deed, some purely local or regional issues—the Main Street understanding of interests—really give cause and opportunity to find common purpose, common identification, and common goals. Our first common understanding in this exercise comes in very familiar terms: The place we live, our home—the towns, villages, and cities of the St. Croix Valley. In reaching for the private, non-governmental solutions, we can find that bettering ourselves and our home area happen more through empathy and effort, for self and for others, than any action by government can provide.

First, we can lose all the labels and definition accepted or imposed on people by the systems which govern. No longer of partisan ideologies; no factions or religions; nor party, nor class; no arrogance of education or lack thereof; and no superiority privilege or entitled inferiority. In this very specific, grass roots level endeavor, one calls themselves “humans” or “citizens” of the St. Croix Valley.

Second, get rid of the word “activists,” for that implies some cause opposed to or opposed by something else, and often of value or detriment at the same time to many others. In this exercise, call yourself a “steward” of the community (see the definitions listed above). Third, take up a cause, other than partisan politics, or anything politically inspired or fired. Fourth, as government can at least do somethings tolerably well (short list), and somethings efficiently (sadly, like destruction and theft of life and property), leave government to its own resources. It has no place in this exercise. Instead, make the cause meaningful to self and truly helpful to others.

Examples of stewardship projects: a) Improve out-of-school opportunities for education (read: opportunities, not outcomes): Learn something or teach something. Document, especially in audio-visual media, yourself or some one else learning or teaching. Pass it onward. b) Start a local business enterprise. Or, join or start a private-sector group of others interested in investing in new, and local, start-up businesses. WARNING: Do not rely on any hoped-for or expected government subsidies, contracts, or private or non-profit “free money” grants. Creating jobs comes down to the hard Laws of Supply and Demand, to make a profit, while employing labor, for a capital base to expand. Stay shrewd. Back winners and innovative ideas. c) Improve the health, wellness, and nutrition of people. This includes everything from starting a new garden or food forest, to clean-up projects, to handing out bars of soap and cleaning supplies. All of these simple things, and many more, mean much when done with the empathy of stewardship and group effort, in the place that matters most: your community.

The Challenge: List what you do in terms of stewardship. Can you revise and improve your list? Add more? Or focus better on fewer things? It remains up to each individual to decide.