Sunday, February 22, 2009

river walk

Is the Mississippi frozen now?

I know Ed is remembering our trip up to Quebec several Februarys ago. On the list of favorite sounds for him is the sound of a ferry pushing ice on a river overwhelmed by chunks of frozen water.

We walk along the edge of this most American of all our rivers and we fight off the truly arctic blast of air. Here, in St. Paul, the body of water does indeed appear to churning southwards under a layer of ice and snow.

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I suppose you could even walk from one bank to the other, except few would dare. It is the immense Mississippi after all. Besides, in places, you see this:

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As we walk along the ridge, whipped by the winds that race from one shore to the other, I think that I can tolerate just one last day of pure winter, but that’s all. I am more than ready to embrace the idea of daffodils. Or at least crocuses. Enough of the snow covered spruces. Beautiful, but so yesterday.

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We eat lunch at one of the numerous low key/great food places in the city. Our hosts know them all, I think.

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Neither is a Minnesota native, but they’ve taken on the job of introducing the state and their city to us southerners. God, that feels good – “us southerners” – as if, when we return home, we get to reenter a truly southern climate!

We are given a driving tour of the city of St Paul and then we retreat to their home, where Ed quite comfortably falls into the shoes of a houseguest again. (Or rather, takes off the shoes and climbs back under the covers to watch DVDs recommended by our ever thoughtful hosts.)

Me, I’ve been a houseguest a lot in my life. I admit it -- I’m not especially a good one. I enjoy too much not having the worry of fixing meals and making someone else feel comfortable and I can hardly tear myself away from sitting down and doing nothing. I offer help in dinner preparations only halfheartedly and I am thrilled when my wimpy offerings are turned down.

Later, I retreat under the covers too and there I remain wonderfully unfrazzled, worrying about nothing, not work, not condo refinancing, not even the bus ride home tomorrow. After all, we could very well have a great driver, who loves his job and tries to keep the wheels of the bus on the strip of road intended for driving. It's possible. And in any case, we should be off the highways, in our southern city of Madison before dark.