But the beauty is in the walking – we are betrayed by destinations.Gwyn Thomas
For many of us, early March was “before” and now we reside in “after,” or perhaps more accurately, “during.” It’s hard to remember so many freedoms we enjoyed only a few weeks ago. And I don’t speak simply to being able to come and go as we please, congregate and share activities without a thought, or that our lives had some semblance of stability.
What I refer to is the loss of our dreams, ones we could plan for and bring to life, ones that sustained our hard work and focus, ones that made life rich and worth sacrificing for.
Now, we isolate and we wait.
Believe me, I am committed to what it takes for our common welfare, but I wonder if we’ll lose something from this time. If that’s hubris, then ok. If it’s hope, I’m heartbroken.
This audio narrative was written and recorded at Lake Maria State Park in the far western portion of the Metro, where the highway signs begin posting mileage to Saint Cloud.
The park hosts one of the few remaining stands of maple, oak, elm, cedar and basswood, an island of forest that once covered much of southern Minnesota. The woods were so thick, it’s been said, that sunlight couldn’t penetrate the forest floor. French explorers named this region “Bois Grand” or Big Woods.
It’s not flat since this park lies on the St. Croix Moraine, formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation. Granite forms the bedrock topped by several feet of terminal moraine debris left by a bulldozer of massive ice sheets. Short, steep inclines lead to narrow catwalk ridges called eskers, hovering above myriad ponds and depressions or kettles scoured into the earth as the glaciers retreated.
Lake Maria is well known for its beautiful backpacking sites and remote cabins. The kame, Anderson Hill, is an oddly shaped mound of glacial till and detritus. It looks down upon tiny lakes just coming to life on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sky a robin egg blue, the temperature at sixty.
Charles Dickens described a day like this, when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. But it’s more than a seesaw of temperature. There’s a feeling of expectancy, something waiting beneath my feet to emerge. It’s a story still to be told.
My story will be that I continued to walk in the time of coronavirus, that I continued to be startled by the screech of a Red Shouldered Hawk, or awed by golden sunlight casting long shadows on melting snow, or delighted by mushrooms stacked up in crooked rows. We can take precautions to stay safe and still walk outside now, in fact we’re told fresh air can help right now as we live in uncertainty.
I give you my hand (virtually) and invite you to join me (again, virtually) as winter slowly gives way to spring and the world outside comes alive. Be well!