August 29, 2016
“‘You’ll never see another town like Duluth,’ he says. ‘It’s not a tourist destination, but it probably should be. Depends on what season you’re in there, though. There are only two seasons: damp and cold. I like the way the hills tumble to the waterfront and the way the wind blows around the grain elevators. The train yards go on forever too. It’s old-age industrial, that’s what it is.'”
— from “Bob Dylan’s Late-Era, Old-Style American Individualism” by Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone, May 14, 2009
My sister and I continued our vacation “Up North” with a trip to Duluth. We had tickets to the Tall Ships Festival and joined tens of thousands of other people who lined the waterfront to watch these marvelous ships come in. In spite of the crowds, I liked the look and feel of Duluth. It’s a working city, a port city, industrial and seemingly untarnished.
Here are some photos from Duluth and the Tall Ships Festival:
August 28, 2016
“With every dawn, every place on earth is a new place.”
— Paul Gruchow, Journey of a Prairie Year
“Red and pink light began to stream from a place below the horizon in the east like the notes of a silent fanfare. For a long time the sun lingered just below the horizon, like a performer behind a curtain. . . . Suddenly the sun burst into view and the whole world was radiant. . . It began to climb, taking command of the day.”
— Paul Gruchow, The Necessity of Empty Places
On this trip to Minnesota, more than ever before, I was constantly amazed by the drama in the skies. The clouds were ever-changing and in perceptible motion across the spacious skies. Look how this sunrise unfolds:
August 27, 2016
To Minnesotans, “Up North” is a state of mind. For me it evoked fantasies of hot summers on cool lakes, vacation cabins nestled in the woods, contemplative fishermen watching their bobbers. During my childhood I would overhear people talk about going “Up North” and it stirred longings to escape our land-locked farm with its interminable chores.
On my recent visit to Minnesota, I finally got a taste of living on lake time Up North. My youngest sister and her husband have a new cabin on Big Turtle Lake near Bemidji (which is about 5 hours north of our family farm in southern Minnesota) — and it has a guest room! Staying in this quiet, peaceful place for the first two nights after my arrival was the perfect start to my vacation. I couldn’t help but unwind listening to the lapping of the water against the dock, watching the ever-changing clouds move across the sky, hearing the haunting call of loons across the lake.
My sister and I went kayaking on the mirror smooth lake in the early hours before breakfast and again near sunset. This was my first time kayaking, and although I couldn’t seem to paddle in a straight line, I loved it! In the heat of the day, we waded into the reedy lake and swam to cool off.
The cabin itself was set back from the lake, but a wall of windows gave a view of the lake through a line of trees. To get down to the lake, we walked across a marshy patch on a wooden boardwalk.
My experience living the lake life was almost exactly as I had imagined it all these years. Even the mosquitoes stayed away for the most part — a few bites couldn’t mar my enjoyment. I hope to be back!
August 19, 2016
August 18, 2016
August 17, 2016
“And oh, the cry of the seagulls! Have you ever heard it? Can you remember?”
— C. S. Lewis
One memorable part of my day trip to Rialto Beach was that I got many great photographs of seagulls in flight. They were feeding in the surf, right at the edge the water, and they were swooping past at eye level. So here are the results of my photo frenzy capturing the freedom of flight: