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On Silence and Water in Minnesota--Joanne and John Rosberg

Sandstone, Minnesota

Story Narrative:

This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded by the Minnesota Humanities Center for the Stories from Main Street project, an initiative created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for its traveling exhibition "Water/Ways."

Fred Keller (interviewer): What did you hear that made you say, 'Well I'm going to write a check?'

Joanne Rosberg: Silence.

Fred Keller: Describe that. That’s not something that we all are able to experience.

Joanne Rosberg: Exactly. When you sit and listen and there is not a human sound – not one human sound--and then after you are here for a little while and you are still, then you start hearing the birds and you hear the rustling in the leaves and stuff. Fred Keller: For those folks that don’t know the word riparian, we are talking about the boundary between the river’s edge and the normal high water mark,

Joanne Rosberg: The normal high water mark, which in this case changes from year to year.

John Rosberg: Like usually where you find sedge grass - that is riparian.

Joanne Rosberg: And there are the really tall wild sunflowers – the pretty little things that the finches love and both the solsenge, sow thistles…

John Rosberg: Fringed orchids – that gets her all torqued up!

Joanne Rosberg: There is bloodroot and mayflowers and Dutchman breeches and Jacob’s Ladder. It just goes on and on and on. Every week it seems there is something new.

John Rosberg: A few years back – there was that Mike – he said, 'We are new here. We are going to do this, this, this.' All of a sudden I hear banging and crashing going and he is dumping gravel in the river to make a better river bank. I asked, you know, Bruce – 'You know, neighbors are doing something in their yard – did they get a permit? You won’t give me a permit.' He said, 'What do you mean they are doing?' See -- I did not tattle on him. Well, it turns out the DNR knew about it already (eye in the sky!). The game warden came with a cease and desist order. They have the power of God. They have the power of God. Everything stopped.

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