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Jim Heynen has been a journalist, ghostwriter and organizational consultant for his own firm, RTM. He lives east of Pentwater inside the Manistee National Forest, off the grid and beyond postal delivery, linked to civilization via satellite dish. You’ll find him at brunch with coffee and a stack of sourdough pancakes. The views and assertions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

This Christmas, may your gifts be love and acceptance

The doe and her two yearlings brought company during the night. When I woke to reload the woodstove, their clan had gathered in the moonlight outside the bedroom window. An urban friend once spent a sleepless night here because, she said, it […]

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Try as we might, there’s no seceding from the world

Living deep in a forest, there’s no slap of morning newspapers on our front porch. A satellite dish tucked into a circle of pines delivers all the news that’s fit to print or Google. Most mornings I’ve had my fill of world […]

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In an echo chamber, language loses its power

I think evil is real. I also think we need to pay attention to language. For example: I’m haunted by my memory from a photographic history of Jim Crow I visited in Washington D.C. more than a decade ago, especially the black-and-white […]

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After outliving a father, a son considers two different lives

I remember the day I turned 59. I had survived 58, the age at which Tony Heynen, my father, died. In the years leading up to 58 I’d wondered if his age at death would also be mine. Fifty-nine came with a […]

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Communities are built, not conjured for our personal convenience

Born in 1945 on the edge of Fremont, across a gravel road from Cook’s hatchery, my childhood had the character of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers. There were challenges. Illness dogged our family. Money went to hospitals, not bikes or horses. […]

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A country’s anger pierces even the silence of the forest

We live in the Manistee National Forest where, each year, as spring first creeps and then roars to life all around us, I think about death. It isn’t religion’s observance of Passover’s Seder or Easter’s resurrection that does this. It’s the land. […]

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