Just East of the Indian's Nose

Letter From the Northwoods

Eleven years ago, I moved to Northwest Wisconsin, a region called the Wisconsin Indianhead because it is shaped like the profile of an Indian chief I live just east of the nose.

After a career of publishing magazines and editing newspapers in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, I decided to take a retirement job editing a newspaper in a small Wisconsin town of fewer than 2,000 people. How pleasant it would be to leave the hustle, bustle, and high crime of the city! No more daily struggles with traffic. A place where I could retire in the quiet beauty of rolling woods and lakes. I even rented a cabin near a lovely little lake eight miles from town, where my young collie and I could commune with nature.

But it didn't take long to discover that Northwest Wisconsin was a foreign country, totally unlike anyplace I had been before. And my idyllic surroundings soon revealed some problems. There were wood ticks, not the regular kind, but tiny little deer ticks that passed on Lyme disease if you weren't vigilant in getting them off. The collie got Lyme disease and could barely walk until I took him to a vet for treatment. The dog also tangled with a porcupine and got quills in his nose, got sprayed by a skunk, and raccoons kept swiping his dog food after carefully washing each piece in his water dish. A sturdy, determined, and large family of mice who had been making the cabin their home for a couple of years defied...

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