The Seasons They are a Changin'

Come gather 'round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
And you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'"

(Bob Dylan,"The Times They are a Changin')

Spring is busting out all over Wisconsin, and you can see it in the changed behavior of people.  At least, that's true in our rural county, where corona virus cases have not dramatically increased over the last couple of weeks. Columbia County has increased from 27 cases to 32 cases in the last week or so and has held steady at one death for at least a month. Lots of people are out and about, not wearing masks, hoping that everything goes back to normal soon.  On the other hand, the state of Wisconsin has seen increasing deaths:  from 24 on April 1st to 374 on May 7th. 

The Democratic governor extended the shelter in place order until May 26th.  The Republican Legislature is working to get that order overturned.  With a conservative majority, the Wisconsin Supreme Court seemed sympathetic to the Republican arguments.  The Chief Justice commented that the recent outbreak in Green Bay is among meatpacking employees, not "regular folks."    

As for me, I'm not encouraged much by the politicians or judges on either side of the aisle. That isn't to say that politics and policy aren't important.  I was a political science major before law school.  I'm very much aware of how money and power influence laws and policy.  Policy decisions will influence the final death count.  Political choices will partly determine who will be the winners and losers in the future economy. 

I haven't seen any evidence that an effective treatment or vaccine is coming anytime soon.  Without a cohesive national policy, a lot is being left up to the individual states and individuals themselves.   On a personal level,  Julia has decided to go back to work for one day per week in mid-May.  Eye health is important. A number of precautions will be taken to keep patients and doctors safe.  I don't see any way that it's going to be as safe as sheltering in place, but she feels like it's time to get back to work.  She is still scheduled to retire at the end of December.  That day can't come soon enough for me.  I can easily live on a little bit less in retirement.  But I don't think it's about the money for her.  Julia just isn't quite ready to be done with work.

 Hike on the Ice Age Trail

Wisconsin State parks are open again for day use.  That lets some of the pressure off of other trails.  This week, we went back to Slack's Road and hiked to the Merrimac Ferry and back again.  We didn't pass anyone on the trail and saw only two other hikers and no other dogs. 

Wild flowers are making appearances with the warming weather.   The orioles, grosbeaks and hummingbirds are also back.

Wood Violets

Dutchman Breeches

My personal prediction is that things are going to get much worse before they get better, as we start to open up again.  But you know what?  The geese don't care about my predictions. And neither does Callie.  Nature just keeps going on, as though nothing has changed.  Being in nature makes me feel better--at least for awhile.

Humans can't necessarily see what's just beyond the bend, but we are blessed/cursed with the intelligence to plan for it.  Hope is a positive emotion but not a plan.  We live in interesting times. 


  1. Tell Julia to let it go. Retirement is a job.

  2. I've talked to her about it. We are both strong-willed people. She has made her decision, but says that she is open to reconsidering it if she feels unsafe.

  3. According to my sister who lives in lower Michigan and drove home through snow yesterday the seasons are indeed changing, but they seem to be a little confused as to which direction to go. Humm, pretty much like us trying to decide if and when to venture forth again. . . And she is also one that is fixated on working past when she really needs to.

    By the way, think I can get an appointment with Julia? I was long past due for new glasses, and maybe a change in prescription, before all this started. Now I'm wondering just how long I'm going to be looking through these scratched lenses. . .

    1. I just got back from my country road walk, and there's no sugar-coating the weather today. It's miserable with wind, rain and snow.

      As for scheduling an eye exam, it might be easier to get you a ticket to a Green Bay Packer game. Julia gave up control over the schedule when she sold her practice at the end of 2018. All new patients are scheduled with the other two doctors. Before things shut down, Julia was booked solid on a three day per week schedule through the end of the year. With a one day per week schedule to start back, she should be swamped, but the question is: will anyone come in for their eye exam? For those who come, there will be changes. All patients will need to wear masks and be pre-screened for fever before coming through the front door.

      Let me know though if you are serious and coming through Wisconsin. We could probably figure out a way to get you in. You can shoot me a gmail at brewedjourney.

    2. Not sure at this point if the summer family reunion in Michigan is going to happen let alone a trip to Wisconsin. Besides, it's been well over 5 years since my last eye-check (Yep, I'm that guy) so I think I can wait a while longer.

  4. Callie looks focused. Does she think the cairn or the post is a person?

  5. Focused is Callie's dominant personality trait. At the time that she was rescued, she was living in the wild, surviving on eating grass, drinking out of puddles, and catching small animals. When she is on the trail, she often reverts to those learned habits. I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw Callie catch a small bird out of the air that got too close. She is hyper-aware of her surroundings, especially when she can't see around a bend in the trail. When Callie can't see over something, she will rise up on her hind legs and hop like a pogo stick to see better.


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