(This piece was originally published in The Rake magazine in Minneapolis.)
I lived in Minneapolis for a few years, some years ago, and during that time I came to love the town and the quaint Midwestern customs of its citizens. People smiled at you on the street-without asking for money. If you were lost, they gave you directions-without asking for money. They even assisted the elderly across the street; in DC, we use them as decoys for the onrushing traffic.
Minneapolis was especially inspiring for me as a writer. You could write about the Human Drama of Snow. Or use Snow as a Metaphor for the Universal Condition. Or hurt your back shoveling Snow so that you had more Time to Write.
As Shakespeare wrote:
Snow is the Winter of our Discontent.
But during my residence there, the aspect of Minneapolis that I loved most was the chain of lakes inside the city limits. The prevailing theory is that a glacier created the lakes, though this story is less than credible to me since never once during my stay did a mile-high wall of ice come down from Canada.
Two separate paths circumnavigate the lakes of Minneapolis. The Outer Path is for Speeders: bikers, inline skaters, and other mobility enthusiasts. While I admired their balance, dexterity, and tight clothing, I always thought it was odd to be in such a hurry when you are traveling in a circle.
The Inner Path around the lakes is for Footers: joggers, walkers, and plodders like me. The Inner Path often floods during the spring thaw, forcing both Speeders and Footers onto the same ground. This is a recipe for disaster. There's just no getting around me.
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