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Noticiero #16
17 de
 junio, 2022
The feather; the pen
Bienvenidos al noticiero
: La Pluma. Welcome to the Newsletter.  

Hola <<First Name>>,

It’s lilac time in the north, filling the breezes with a most sweet, dreamy fragrance.

It is also morel mushroom time, according to my cousin, Dan, in yet another northern realm – northern Illinois that is. He texted me a photo of his find and reports having enough to put extras in the freezer. Seems that morels are picked by the grocery bag full in some places.
I was hooked years ago, when I literally stumbled on sporadic morel clumps, poking up through leaf mulch, camouflaged by the variegated sun shadows in the back woods. The scavenger hunt was on. Over the decades, I never scored like that first year, including some totally barren years, leaving my frying pan empty, except for the melting butter.

That doesn’t stop me from checking the spots where, once upon a time, I found a morel. Is it the hunt, the wild edible, or is it just the butter that nudges me on? If I’m lucky, Dan will thaw some out when I visit later this summer. But, how could defrosted morels be as good as those we nab ourselves? Like a child finding an Easter egg, the glee and joy of discovery nurses the tradition.
Tradition – the act of passing something on from one generation to another; a ritual; repeating an action out of belief, symbolism, or intentional behaviors – my definition.
Summer is bursting around us. June it the time of Summer Solstice, a moment brimming with ancient ritual ever morphing into current traditions. The northern most latitudes celebrate Midsommer festivals, a sun worshipping extravaganza. To the south, pre-Columbian Aztec and Maya civilizations built mind-boggling pyramids aligned with the sun’s solstice, sending shadows running down the carved backs of serpent gods, where pilgrims still congregate to raise their faces and arms to worship Kulkukan.
This month, I’m inviting you to ponder your own traditions and venture to start new ones. Adopting from another culture can be invigorating – an aha moment – something we had not known, therefore not considered.  After looking outside of our own behaviors, we can reflect back through another culture’s lens and observe the ironies and connections between us.

Enter these days of longer light and fresh air as a time to create something new while still honoring your traditions.
Profe Jan(et)
Chichen Itza: A shadow descends the pyramid’s stairs, connecting to top level to Kukulcan’s head at the base, precisely on Summer Solstice.

Summer solstice is actually winter solstice if you are south of the equator. The southern latitudes gave birth to the Inca, Maya, Aztec, Toltec, and Olmec civilizations, among hundreds of individual indigenous cultures, all incorporating a kaleidoscope of beliefs and their companion rituals. Before being “horrified” by pre-Columbian Aztec beliefs revolving around human sacrifice requirements to keep the sun rising, consider the same Aztec civilization encountering the belief in one man, the Son/Sun of God, being crucified/sacrificed on a cross, and the commemoration invoking “this cup of blood” and “My body broken for you.”  
3 minute National Geographic Video on the Chichen Itza solstice festival
Wedding Traditions - June is known as the wedding month. Wedding traditions are a conglomeration of religious beliefs, generational mores, economics, and always, culture. Many wedding rituals drastically changed during the COVID pandemic in unexpected, yet innovative ways. Meanwhile, some rituals stuck fast. When I attended my first Mexican wedding, I was concerned to see them put a rope around the bride and groom’s necks. I wondered why he was giving her thirteen coins.
Click here to read my blog post reflections: June Weddings – a la mejicana.

Fishing for something to read this summer? 

Northern Shores Southern Borders
available at:

Shop local when you can!
CatTale's, Brainerd
Central Lakes College, Brainerd
Mind Chimes Bookshop, Three Lakes
Chippewa Valley Museum, Eau Claire
The Local Store, Eau Claire
My upcoming event topics include community activism, border/immigration current issues, bilingual benefits, and culturally mindful travel. 

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