It was nice to catch up with Ted Ohlsen in Flin Flon yesterday by telephone. The pictures are from a fishing trip that the writer and a small group of friends recently went on with Ted Ohlsen in Northern Saskatchewan.
There were so many wonderful and fun moments. The group owes a special thanks to Ted and his friend from Saskatchewan- Fred Highfield. The Fred and Ted show was non-stop entertainment, and they were expert guides on the expansive Saskatchewan lakes.
One of the funniest moments was when Fred and Ted told a story of them washing dishes on a fishing trip. After a few after dinner drinks, Ted was washing, and Fred was drying. Fred kept sneaking pots behind Teds back (Ted is blind don’t forget) and Ted just kept washing them. Ted finally exclaimed “how many damn pots did you guys use?”, the cabin was in tears.
In my conversation with Ted yesterday he reminded me of the way that everyone became so relaxed and open in the outdoors of Northern Saskatchewan. Ted said to me:
“When people are in the right location, right circumstances, they forget their daily things and worries – and the true nature of their lives tends to come out. This is when people talk about things that matter. Matters of the heart. You know Sherman, even some doctors are starting to give prescriptions for ‘time in the outdoors’ rather than pills. When mother nature puts a blanket over you, you have a very nice sleep.”
As usual, I listened to Ted with my eyes closed and let him fill me with wonder. Thanks Ted!
Ted is an amazing inspiration to me and The Emily Dahl Foundation.
The call of nature can be found in this poem by Kabir, a 15th century mystic.
The potter turned to knead the clay And heard it say: Be not too proud thou Tho’ you may shape me now A time will come when it will be me That shapes and kneads thee.
The clay kneading the potter refers to the body returning to the earth after death.
The potter kneads and crushes the clay with the single-minded attention of one whose very survival and lively hood depends on it and with the devotion of one who creates from it, knowing that improperly prepared clay will not deliver the magic from the fingers on the potter’s wheel later. The ordinary and plentiful clay, that is merely annoying dust and dirt for most, is important and central to all that a potter does. He creates objects of utility and beauty, by his skill in treating clay well. The potter is a model of skilled mindfulness in work, reminding us to bring that attitude of sacredness to the humblest tasks of our work.
In the grand scheme of the universe, tables turn as certainly as death that no one has escaped yet. What is ordinary, weak, and down today will be precious, strong, and up another day. The poet reminds us of what we know for sure already: that one day the potter will be lying buried under the earth, covered, and crushed by the same clay that he crushed under his feet all through his working life.
With this symbolical reminder in the potter, is there any other way to be but full of wonder about life?
The Emily Dahl Foundation
Thursday, Sept 16, 2021
PS … Look at all the new Ted Carvings for The Emily Dahl Foundation! The Emily Dahl Foundation gives these carvings out to children and countless homes.
Pictured:Ted Ohlsen (SK Rider Green), Fred Highfield (behind Ted), Left to Right – Doug Johnson, Ross Mcelroy, Michael Halvorson, Chuck Downie, Jesse Campbell, Brian Skanderbeg, and seated beside Ted, Tim Termuende.
(Photos taken by Sherman Dahl)