Mary Relindes Ellis is a Wisconsin native and author of the award-winning novel The Turtle Warrior, which is set in the rural north of our state.
The Chippewa River near my birthplace has always been part of my childhood animism in that it is a deeply spiritual place. Ashland County is the poorest county in Wisconsin but that poverty has ensured that the county’s spectacular beauty hasn’t been developed. One of the few beliefs I retain from my childhood Catholicism is that there is divinity in everything. I can’t, however, hold that belief towards skyscapers and such. But a river, particular the river of one’s birth, holds my soul. We are nothing without such places.