• One Minnesota Writer

A Good Day for a Hike


Canada geese landing near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Photo by kcmickelson.

This past week, I read many articles about the anniversary of the world shutting down for the pandemic, how our feelings about home have changed, what we miss, what we don't. I thought about how grateful I am for my home and how that has not truly changed over the course of the pandemic. I was grateful two years ago, last year, and am grateful now even though home has had to pivot to be so many things beyond a sanctuary for us in this time. There was a lot of serious reading going on here, and much consideration about, well, everything. A break was in order.


So I took a hike. I met my son Shawn, who was on spring break from his teaching job, at a nearby trailhead and we walked, talked, took photos. We both have nice cameras that make us itch to capture images - a Nikon D5100 for me and a Canon EOS for him. We both love to get shots of interesting details that others might not see and we both find great benefit from being outside. A day spent offline every now and then is an essential part of how I care for myself. That was true before the pandemic and it's become an urgent piece of my well-being now. I think that's true for Shawn, too, who has been teaching remotely for a year. A day offline and outside is an enormous gift.



Bald eagle against high thin clouds. Photo by kcmickelson.

We met up at the Big Rivers Regional Trail parking area near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, across from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It was a warm, sunny March day and eagles were everywhere. Every time we looked up, we spotted one or two. We also saw hawks, crows, and a band of turkeys meandering around an adjacent cemetery. Geese landed on the water below the trail, sending up sprays of droplets behind themselves. Moss glowed on fallen tree trunks, fungi snuggled in between limbs, old nests clung to still-naked branches. Few people were around since it was a weekday. Unpopulated places have become something I search for now, unwilling as I am to be around very many people. I suspect I'll continue to feel that way for quite some time after I get my vaccine.



Hawk in bright March sky. Photo by kcmickelson.


Wild turkeys snacking their way through a nearby cemetery. Photo by kcmickelson.

Shawn and I spent the entire morning meandering around, stopping to look at this or that, chatting about nothing and everything. When we got back to our vehicles, I certainly felt renewed and happy and ready to go back home. I had visual poetry on my camera's memory card that I couldn't wait to check out, had spent hours with my son, and walked several miles. What could be better than that?


Well, one thing: having a home I was happy to return to.



The tripod Shawn gave me came in handy here. Photo by kcmickelson.


All photos by kcmickelson 2021.




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