Breaking national and world news tells us the physical attack on terrorism has begun. Air strikes have been taking place in Afghanistan against targets critical to Osama bin Laden and his followers. We also hear the terrorists are likely to respond to those attacks, with the biggest question now being, "How?"
Throughout all of this, we're also told not to lock ourselves in our homes, but instead to go about our lives as normally as possible. We are changed by the attack on America and the internationally supported response, but we continue on with some of the more pleasurable and even mundane aspects of life.
October in northern Minnesota is full of "normal" things to do. Fall colors have certainly reached their peak, and stronger and cooler winds are taking down those leaves that still cling to trees. The raking season is upon us.
Lake residents, including summer and weekend visitors, are still taking docks out of the water and putting boats into winter storage. The trend on our roads has turned -- not as many vehicles are pulling fishing and ski boats on trailers. Instead there are more trailers carrying ATVs, and kennels with anxious hunting dogs ready to work are a common sight in the back of pickup trucks and SUVs.
While B-1s, 2s and 52s fly over Afghanistan, Minnesotans take notice, but hear only the distinctive buzz of four-wheelers and pops of shotguns carrying through the woods closer to home. Families here take advantage of a crisp but sunny day to decorate yard and home with scarecrows and pumpkins.
We gathered to run the Twin Cities Marathon. We walked to raise money to find a cure for diabetes. We watched Cal Ripken Jr. say goodbye to baseball after 21 years with the Baltimore Orioles. We celebrated with Barry Bonds as he broke the single season home run record.
In addition to the celebrations, we are reminded of serious ongoing issues. This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing awareness of breast cancer issues, especially the importance of early detection. During 2001 an estimated 192,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States. NBCAM encourages all women to recognize the importance of early breast cancer detection by participating in National Mammography Day on Oct. 19.
October is also National Disability Month. It's theme, Win With Ability, emphasizes that we must not overlook the contributions of our disabled community.
National Depression Screening Day, Oct. 11, is held during Mental Illness Awareness Week, Oct. 7-13. NDSD is designed to call attention to the illnesses of depression and manic-depression on a national level, to educate the public about their symptoms and effective treatments, to offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for the disorders and to connect those in need of treatment to the mental health care system.
Recent NDSD data provides invaluable insight into who is and who is not receiving treatment. Consistently, more than 80 percent of the people who score positive for depression are not in treatment at the time of the screening. Nearly 60 percent had never been in treatment. Free and anonymous screening will take place Oct. 11 at the Brainerd Public Library.
Many other opportunities for education, entertainment and enrichment are presented to us every day. We should continue to live our lives full of activity and purpose, and to give family and friends our love and encouragement as we go about each new day, never knowing what tomorrow will bring.
(Diane McCormack is a correspondent for The Brainerd Dispatch and a freelance writer living in north central Minnesota. Send comments or feedback to email@example.com.)
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