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  • I walked along the Mississippi River last week in Minneapolis for the first time. I dodged joggers and bicyclists politely staying in their lane to run from side to side of the stone bridge to see it all. The river impressed me, having read Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer as a kid, and having crossed over it several times by car and train. This was my first up-close and intimate visit with it. This section of river boasts signs of caution but is so narrow that I can walk across it on the bridge - just the right size for me to embrace it all. The sign said "Saint Anthony Falls" but they had become a concrete spillway over a hundred thirty years ago. Locks and dams, useful and impressive feats of engineering, but no sounds of rushing water cascading over natural stone. Too bad.

    Gold Medal, Pillsbury Best Flour and North Star Blankets' smoke stacks stand sentry along her banks, reminding us that this has been a working river since we settlers arrived. The Indians named and the French renamed and life along the river goes on and on and on, adapting and evolving. The ruins of the old mill sit below the new mill, reminding us of the evolution of industry going on still.

    The Guthrie Theatre overlooks the river and at night the lights are blue and magical. The ushers patiently waited for us to take our fill of the sight. Many of us stood, reflecting or just appreciating the Mississip' at night after watching a play - Pride and Prejudice, a so-so adaptation of the book by Jane Austen. The splendid moments after the play, standing on the endless walkway made up for the over the top female characters squeezed into caricatures of women, likely drawn by a man unacquainted with many women or hating most of them. Costumes were period pieces and I thought of the worlds around me swirled past to present and past again in the dark of the bright moon.

    On our way back to the hotel, we walked past the museum, shut up tight for the night and kept the river to our right so we wouldn't get lost. I knew it would be there in the morning-mighty and flowing, waiting for me when I went out for my early morning walk.
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