Monday, September 27, 2010


Minnesota Monday: Walking

One thing I am still getting used to in Minnesota is that it really is a walking city. Where I live, I can walk to the grocery store, a coffee shop, some restaurants, a bank... and I do walk there (now that my ankle is healing). So do lots of other people.

It does take some getting used to, though. I'm so accustomed to just getting in the car as a matter of course that sometimes I do so, remember where I am, then get out again and head out on foot.

Sure, Osler (you say)-- that's fine in the fall, but what about the winter? Good point, and I am interested to see how this changes. At work, though, I expect it won't change much. Downtown Minneapolis is connected by an enormous skyway, which is a meandering path of bridges through 88 blocks of stores, restaurants, hotels, and just about everything else (including St. Thomas law school).

In Waco, I lived in a beautiful part of town where people did walk. It wasn't unusual to see my neighbors passing my house, then go out and chat for a while. I loved that. Sadly, other than the Family Dollar and La Fiesta, there weren't many place to walk to, however. When I see people walking here, I expect to recognize them, expect them to be the people I have come to know, but they aren't. They have different stories, different lives, and someplace to go. I'm not sure that is better; there is something to be said for walkers who are on foot only for the exercise and to exchange a kind word with the people along the way.

Still, there is a rhythm to life here that is appealing. Perhaps in part it is the sense that the snows will come and quiet it all, leaving me on a bright cold morning to walk through that faint scent of woodsmoke, pine, and ice.

We will see.

I read a Tim O'Brien book once where the native Minnesotans cross country skied in the winter. (They also got lost in a blizzard.)

I LOVE cross country skiing. In fact, when I first came up here to speak, I took a few hours and went and got a little XC in. It's a great workout, too.
Then may I recommend, if you haven't read it yet, Tim O'Brien's Northern Lights? All his books are excellent, and most are set in Minnesota. But Northern Lights focuses on two brothers who bond over cross country skiing.

Tomcat in Love is also great.

Who am I kidding? They're all great.
Walking in winter is amazingly beautiful!
The sights and sounds are so crisp and clear.
You just need to learn to layer and buy good boots.
Snow Shoes
DO you have amnesia?
You DID grow up in MICH right? I for one am NEVER EVER going back to the snow. Two words for you: "FREEZING RAIN."
But then I do not write romantic poetry every time a snow flake appears here in Oregon. I not out there with my neighbors building snowpeople and getting out the sleds. I just sit inside of my house ignoring them and think: "Are you crazy???" Just my opinion but snow makes life HARDER. Driving on it, shoveling it walking on it - Its all just a huge pain in the ass.

I know I know I sound like one of those mean old ladies that yells at the kids to stay off ofher lawn.... but there are just some people who LOVE snow and some people who DO NOT. Its just like the MAYONNAISE DEBATE.

Some people like Mayonnaise, some people liek Miracle Whip. I like Miracle Whip, and I call it mayonnaise. My husband will not touch it and tells me all of the time that it is not real mayonnaise. I am never going to change his mind, and he is never going to change mine.
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