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June 15, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

I was driving around Emmet County early Wednesday morning, making my GMC happy after I had to get it jump-started. I went out by Gruver and around the way where the trees and grasslands are all a deeply cool green that helps me forget how blasting hot it is, and I try to not complain because soon enough I'll be bundling up against the cold. I'm trying to decide if I should get my coats dry cleaned now to be freshly opened when it's cold enough, or wait until fall.

I was awed by the beauty of nature that's all around us. I had my camera in the car, and I think, whether for the print edition or online or something, I must, must start taking photos of what I see here, because all the green against the blue sky certainly stirs up my inner peace.

So I'm heading down the county road past some sparkling farmhouses and some that were left behind to fade into the earth, and I started to sing, "Love, love, love. That's what it's all about." I learned it when I was a preschooler, but was trying to mature it with a sort of folk-rock feel I hoped sounded like Jewel or Stevie Nicks or Ani DiFranco or Suzanne Vega or Judy Collins or Gillian Welch or Mary Chapin Carpenter. I thought I might be getting kind of a Jewel sound going, but it was breezy and my driver's side window was open.

I don't want to fill this space with all the tragedy and sadness and clear need for something to change that the latest and largest mass shooting has unearthed, except to say that at Sunday's Tony Awards, Lin Manuel Miranda, originator and star of the Broadway play "Hamilton," which you have to sell a body part or get a second mortgage on your house to see, because tickets are thousands of dollars, (it might be worth it; when I saw the opening to his first musical, "In the Heights," on the 2007 Tony's broadcast, I thought it was the best thing I'd yet seen, even though librettist Quiara Alegria Hudes was completely robbed of even credit, much less the Tony for it) accepted his Tony for best new musical and read a sonnet he wrote.

He said, in part, "We chase the melodies that seem to find us/until they're finished songs and start to play/when senseless acts of tragedy remind us/that nothing here is promised, not one day/This show is proof that history remembers/we've lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger/we rise and fall and light from dying embers/remembrances that hope and love last longer/and love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside" Love. It cannot be killed. Or swept aside. What I've learned in a year of writing here for you is that this community comes together when our tragedies happen, and there are souls of fire who prove that love cannot be killed or swept aside. With the tragedies that have happened, and the struggles ahead, that's what it's all about.



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