Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Bob Butz Explores
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Bob Butz Explores

Elizabeth Buzzelli - November 24th, 2008
An Uncrowded Place: The Delights and dilemmas of life Up North and a young man’s search for home
by Bob Butz
$21.95 - Huron River Press

Review by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

So many who come to Northern Michigan have faced the challenges Bob Butz has faced. Sometimes it’s that dark night of the soul, when you look at yourself in the mirror one morning and ask “Is this who I want to be?” Sometimes it’s simply the journey to be true to oneself. Sometimes it’s about things not yet discovered.
In An Uncrowded Place: The delights and dilemmas of life Up North and a young man’s search for home (Huron River Press), Butz’s search has brought him north to become the writer he wants to be, the father and husband he hopes he is, and a man at one with the natural world. What he achieves, as the essays—originally published in Traverse Magazine —progress, is an uneasy acceptance of life as it really is. All of this while engrossed in fly fishing, bow hunting, hunting for writing assignments in New York City while looking like a rube, camping, and taking care of his new son. This is a book of contradictions and semi-answers. It’s a book about people like him—those who choose to live in the country or wished they lived in the country.
Some of the best writing here takes place in the dark. Night dark. Three a.m. dark. A time when the body seems to disappear and all that’s left is the mind hunting for something, unseen hands feeling along into the forest; along a stream. Somehow Butz knew to challenge himself, knew that the dark we all fear holds answers and he goes out there into the woods: hunting, fishing, in the snow, in November, on summer nights of the big hex fly invasion.

FISH TALE
In “Under the Hex,” the month is June. It is the ‘dusky hatching of the Hex,’ when the trout rise in the rivers to feast on the huge Mayflies. Butz isn’t alone. Hundreds of avid fishermen line the banks of the river, come after “a big old hooked-jawed brown, a slab-sided river fish as large as the blade of a canoe paddle.”
“The fishing is good during the hatch,” he writes . . . “perhaps some of the best you’ll ever find. But it’s not easy. After midnight, in the blackness everyday acts seem heroic. I’m thinking about the time my flashlight went dead sometime after midnight, right when the fishing was just taking off. I lost a fly to a fish and actually managed to tie on another, threading the monofilament through the hook eyes and everything, all by feel. Then a half-dozen fish later, I had to feel my way two miles back to the car, the whole while convinced something, or someone, was following me.”
Then again, in “Dream Fish, Night Fish” he braves the dark to fish. He writes, “Fishing at its best is done by feel. After dark, that’s all there is. I most like fishing for salmon at the river’s mouth, where you stand in water up to your armpits. There, under the wide eyes of the moon, in the near dark, I tie my knots by feel, by memory. . . The water presses against my thighs. I try to imagine what the lure looks like down there, flashing in the moonlight with every twitch of the rod.”
After his son is born, an unexpected consequence of fatherhood strikes him. He is changed again. It is three o’clock in the morning. His wife is home. It is “cold, dark, and lightly snowing, the boy was asleep. . I was going for my walk.”
He drives to a trailhead where he parks and sets out. What he discovered that night was what all parents find, that the mind has been taken over by a child, by the needs of another. Immediately uneasiness settles in. Butz writes, “When I was at home, all I could think about was getting away to the woods, miles away, if only for an hour to walk aimlessly alone breathing fresh air un-tinged by the smell of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Desitin. Now that I was here, the real joke finally hit me. All I could think about was home.”
That doesn’t mean turning his back on his love of the woods and waters. It’s more another change. What he’s learned becomes a desire to teach his son, to be with him until he’s of an age to hold a fishing rod, to let this new person into the life he’s found in the Michigan woods. He’s come to the sharing part of life.

CANOEING THE BOARDMAN
“River Notes: Three Days of the Savage Life,” sums up what he’s captured along his way. He takes us to the river and the woods on a November Friday. A storm is predicted. He is canoeing along the Boardman, camping on the shore, bow hunting, fishing, killing a mallard to cook over his fire, and climbing into his sleeping bag at dark to be covered with a blanket of light snow by morning. Here exists much of what he’s come north to find. “The sky this morning was powder blue and streaked with clouds the color of fire. All the trees along the banks were bent over, their branches hanging down, laden with snow that everywhere glowed with a soft pink light. The arrow stuck in the riverbank, only its fletching showing. I pulled it free and paddled in close to shore, paddling slowly, languidly, watching for deer, for squirrels—anything that I might arrow for lunch . . .Suddenly, what has come to me is a feeling of belonging to this world.”
He is at peace with the life he’s created. He paddles along in the river, heading back toward home, to his wife and new son.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s novel, “Dead Dancing Women” is in bookstores now. She will be signing her book at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Dec. 19, 7 to 8:30 p.m.



 
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