When I’m in Minneapolis I spend as much time as I can near Lake Harriet. I’m often surprised that I can feel more connected to the outdoors in the middle of the city than I do in northwestern Minnesota where I live. This past weekend was no different.
Saturday was a quiet morning around the lake. Snippets of conversations from passing runners and walkers, the crunch of my shoes hitting the path and birds singing provided the soundtrack. I came upon an excited group of area residents scouring the trees. One had heard the song of a cardinal, what she called the sound of spring or as someone else said “our groundhog in Minnesota.” No one could spy the bird, but they didn’t let that dampen their enthusiasm. They persisted in their search as I left to continue my walk. As I came full circle around the lake I saw two people drilling a hole in the ice to ice fish. It was a perfect day for it — brisk, but sunny and very comfortable to be outside.
The next day I walked again in the quiet. My husbandand 10 year old horsed around on the ice. Later would be a hectic day of errands, friends and basketball, but our time outdoors grounded and sustained us. I murmured a word of thanks to the group of Minneapolis citizens who in 1883 saw the value of city parks and fought an unsupportive city council to get the Park Act passed by the Minneapolis voters and what their foresight means for us today.
Kristin Eggerling is a board member for Conservation Minnesota Voter Center, the mother of two, and a freelance writer in northwestern Minnesota.