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life in the rural…

Life in the Rural—an Update:
May Day…Flowers, Faith, A Photo Essay…Mostly

Yesterday, May 1st, neighbor kids, the Brandts, quietly left a small bouquet of colorful flowers on the writer’s door as they do every May Day, brightening the moment considerably. Calling attention to the ordinary life, the quiet gesture, simple beauty, the greater good.

The writer prays this particular fish tug, minutes from where he lives, will always be docked in this harbor. Its very name gives him great joy.

Now here comes, there goes the ailing writer, May 1, off to the coop, (rough days ahead, for the next five weeks), waving “Hello,” “Goodbye”…with faith in the word, uppermost in mind…determined that all his stories ”be continued”…


  1. Nancy Akerly

    Norb, May has greeted us with fine weather, budding leaves, and May baskets. May the ailing writer regain his health and enjoy many more Maydays. Know that the prayers of many are wishing you well again.
    Love you, Kiddo!

  2. Shaun Melarvie

    I enjoyed the photos, Norb. We live in such a beautiful place. Thank you for the Coop News–It makes me smile whenever I see it in my inbox. It was nice seeing you, too.

  3. Bill Jacobs


    Good to see, hear, imagine you at last. We’ve missed your regular contributions to our lives each day or two, but our winter has not been as tough as yours. But as the bouquet reminds us of renewal, so too will the next five weeks. By then I will back in your land and hope to see you back at the Coyote.


  4. Jean Casey

    I put my hand on your hand on the uncaring screen. Neither of us looks great, but that matters little. It’s that little piece of beating gristle in our chests and the grey matter up above behind the eyes that sez, “I live, and I care.” And you do, my friend, you do…. Jean

  5. gretchen maring

    Beautiful photos and just the right words. We will wave at you, and wait for you to make more comments….always worthy and always welcome.

  6. annika johnson

    I love all the things you see & share with us!! I love all the little things that make you happy. We seem to share the same tastes! Good luck starting your journey. My whole family & myself will always be thinking of you!! We love you.

  7. Bridget Buff

    Dad~Everyone who loves and cares about you will give you strength in the days ahead. Great photo of you. Nice to see that spring has arrived in Door County as well. Remember your sweet Caroline’s words…be brave Grandpa.

    Much love to you~Bridget

  8. Gwen Layne

    Dear Norb,
    Faith is indeed the word. Move a mountain or two, my friend.

  9. Curtis Dunlap


    It is so good to see messages from you drop into my inbox again. Be on the lookout for a little something from me this week via snail mail.

    With healing thoughts and prayers,


  10. George Bisbee

    Nothing clever to say. Edie and I think of you and pray for you daily. We hope it helps.

  11. Jude hey

    With your “DC Marathon” cap in place, we begin a Marathon of another type ~ Day 36 of 70 to Wellness. Yes. ~LvU~

  12. Ed Gray

    Dear Norb,
    All your friends in Calumet are pulling for you, I will continue to put sama down for you at sunrise at the shore of the big lake.
    Honor and Respect
    Baamaa pii, Jikiwe

  13. Robert M. Zoschke

    Capitano Nazzzzz….keep pounding the typer with those lenscraft hands…and watch out for all those waitresses at Al’s that keep on wanting to adjust your suspenders…hmmmm.
    Love, Zeeeee

  14. Judy Amberg

    Norb, thanks for sharing a photo that gives us a glimpse of what is happening to you these days. I know Tom will have his own special words for you, but for now I want you to know we are keeping the candle burning for you at the end of the path. We reach out our hand to yours in concern and love. We think of the another tug, “Hope,” and wish that for you along with “Faith.”

    Love and prayers,

  15. Larry Meiller

    Norb: Thank you for your message and photos. I always appreciate your insightful words. Please stay strong in the coming weeks and months.
    Larry Meiller

  16. Barbara Larsen

    Dear Norb, I have a small woven heart-shaped box in which I keep the names of those who are undergoing health or other problems. Each morning during meditation I hold it and send thoughts and prayers to them. You are in the box, dear man!

  17. Paula Hedeen

    So wonderful seeing you in my inbox again! Your picture is so adorable as I gaze upon a very colorful soul in every manner. May blessings and good health continue to guide you in the days ahead. My hands are folded for you daily and you must KEEP THE FAITH II….
    Smiling for you, hope you feel it!
    Love, love

  18. R D Armstrong

    Norbert, I hope that the outcome of whatever it is you are referring to turns out well. I don’t know you very well, but I do know that your quiet voice speaks volumes in a world that desperately needs the wisdom of men such as you.

  19. Pat Hewitt

    Dearest One,

    You are in my heart where you have always been. I became a reader of the great stuff: the Hardy, the Forster, because of your teaching. A poster of Steinbeck–young, in a beat up old leather jacket, a cigarette smoldering in his hand–hangs in my office. I meet his gaze and think about his words as written in the opening of EAST OF EDEN or THE GRAPES OF WRATH.
    (I love those openings of his!)

    Thank you for all the lovely photos of your rural life. The photos and your words break gently into my days and so to you I send a gently wish for better health–soon.

    With a song in my heart,

  20. Mary Ann

    Dear Norb, know that Harry and I will be thinking of you. I will see him tomorrow and we spend some time sending you good thoughts through the universe. Looking forward to seeing you this summer. Keep the faith. ma

  21. Alice D'Alessio

    Norb – the wonderful tributes from all who have come before me have said it all, dear friend, and mine can’t compare, but my wishes can. I never told you how much I enjoy corresponding with an outlaw! May your toughness, and our love and faith in you keep you strong.
    Much love,
    Alix XXX

  22. lowell b komie

    Who is that handsome skinny guy? I will send this to Maria K. Flowers on the door every May 1. None of my neighbors do that, So nice to talk to you

  23. lowell b komie

    Mary Lou tells me that when she was a child, she and her sister woud take flowers to their neighbors’ doorsteps.

  24. Warren Nelson

    Norbert.. you have been and are carrying so many of us with you…I, too, lift a prayer for you everyday. To be continued is all our wish. You are truly loved for who you are. Until we meet again, Warren Nelson




  26. Christo

    Stay strong Dad…We’ll see you on Memorial Day weekend.
    We have lots of flowers to plant, Pod Casts to download and I need to set up your TiVo.
    See you soon.
    Love, Christo

  27. Sharon Auberle

    if ever there were a healing place and season, the Door in June is it. Many prayers and healing thoughts coming your way.
    Love, luck & blessings,

  28. Nia Blei

    Norb, You are in our thoughts and prayers as you begin this journey. Your beautiful pictures couldn’t have said it better about Faith! We love you very much and can’t wait to see you soon. Much love! Nia

  29. Kris Thacher

    Norb-Prayers and hopes into the blue, from you rgreat lakes up there to the San Pedros ountains down here. I think we’ve got you covered, every day, every where, high and low. You asked once if poetry could save lives. I think so. Faith too. Snow in our baskets here for May Day. More love, Kris

  30. Gary Busha

    Cheers to you Norb, and the wonderful visits I’ve had
    to the coop and you, and your books and art everywhere
    in that tiny space, and your friendship, support, and
    all that you’ve done in open, sincere friendship, and
    with that I send you a proust, salute, bottoms up,
    and toast and send my heartfelt wishes for you and
    your loved ones. I have known you long, and want
    to know you longer. I admire your intellect and tenacity.
    Highest regards, Gar

  31. Dave Komie

    Wishing you love & a nursing staff who look like Lovta DuMore! Until Dad and I see you again in Door, Dave Komie

  32. Elizabeth

    Mr. Blue, dear old friend of mine, healing thoughts and prayers are being offered up for your recovery stretching from the Midwest to spiritual centers in Northern California. From the decades of collecting your books and paintings, your artwork grows in demand every year. Anticipating your quick return to health and your very special calendar art continuing to drift west. Love Elizabeth

  33. Tim Stone

    May the new life of Spring bring energy to you dear friend. Tim

  34. judy thoreson

    Looking forward to the return of “Norb sightings” in Ellison Bay…Pioneer Store, book store, bank, post office, the wave as you drive by.
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers

  35. steve fortney

    Best wishes and strong mediations sent, sending, your way. Good luck and the best of life, old friend.

  36. MaryAnn Grzych

    Dear Norb: Know that I will be praying for you. You don’t know how much I look forward to your words and photos from DC. They give light to a dull day. This winter was especially poignant. I saved many of them to enjoy over and over. I pray that you will get well and that, once again, your physical strength will match the strength of your words. (Besides, you still haven’t finished the collection of your poetry that you keep telling me you will work on!) Hang onto your faith. It can ease the bumps in the road.

  37. ginny zdenahlik

    Norb, Everyone you know is storming the heavens w/prayers for your return to good health. Just knowing that and how much you’re loved and appreciated will make you smile. Keep in mind that there’s a slot for you as poet laureate of OOOks, Mich.

  38. Bill Ladewig

    Norb: Outlaw, rebel, child of the sixties, writer, teacher, publisher, entrepreneur, thinker, poet, lover and liver of life, and friend. You have touched so many people and have changed so many lives,Your writings and works and teachings will go on through eternity. From the erotic to the profound you have enlightened our lives and have shown us the way. You are a fighter that will never give up with a voice crying out to the universe. Our thoughts and minds are always with you and wishing you the very best. May your road be gentle and may your writings keep urging us to be better than what we are. Peace my friend and good luck.

    Bill Ladewig

  39. Emmett Johns

    Norb, Well now I can say I’ve prayed for an outlaw.
    great to your voice. See you soon. Emmett

  40. Peter and Deb Johnson

    Peter and I have both gotten that dreaded message from our respective doctors. There IS life on the other side! Stay strong through your journey. During my 6 weeks of treatment I wore a different pair of shoes each day!! Do something silly!!

    Deb (and Peter) Johnson

  41. Diane and John

    The hearts of all creatures here are beating in time with yours sending strength and love to you and yours as you head on down that road back to health…

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