Project Maggie and Mel

In addition to the blogging about fishing and adventures, I am working on other larger scale writing projects. “Maggie and Mel” is near and dear to my heart, telling National Park tales across generations. No doubt Maggie and Ed will sneak into blogs I post. They have a way of sneaking into a lot of the things we do.

September 30, 2009 was an otherwise unremarkable day but for one very memorable piece of television. That set of scenes is so sharp that it still evokes tears–one of those moments that redirects the trail of your life. A chance encounter where a stranger leaps out of nowhere and steals your heart with such force you wonder if you’ve always shared the musculature, the blood coursing through, and the rhythm that keeps life sustained on a pursuit of joy and peace. I met a soul-mate that day. I may have met me.

It was Episode Four “Going Home” of Ken Burns PBS series on National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The voice was that of an actress but the person that swept me away was Margaret May Patton Gehrke and the love of her life, Edward “The Bungalow Man” Gehrke. Her words, his pictures, they showed places we loved and emotions we felt. It was as if I was staring into our own life transported in time and viewed through Margaret’s eyes. It was powerful, almost unnerving, and it launched this endeavor. I needed to read all of Margaret’s journals, lay her soul bare next to my own, and see where we could go together. This is our woven experience–a tapestry of travel when National Parks were brand new and now as they are facing an uncertain future; a cloth built of desire to see and feel rather than just be common; and a quilt pieced together through devotion to the love of your life.

The Wanderlust Spirit of Maggie and Mel is a love story–love for our husbands; adoration of wild places, particularly those within the National Park System; and lust for adventures and escapes from the “everyday” in the American Midwest. The more I study Maggie, the more I see the Mel I want to be. So here’s to the “Wanderlust Spirit” and going on amazing journeys.


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