Monday, April 28, 2008

Old Roots and Stomping Grounds

Heading out of Madison on our second "weekend away!"

We had hoped to attend Samantha's softball games but they were all cancelled due to the weather (snow and temperatures in the 30s!). That's what we like about living in the midwest -- challenge!

We stopped at Red Wing and stayed at the historic St James Hotel on the Mississippi River. As you can see the river is high, the wind relentless, and it was COLD!

Our next stop was Northfield where Sabine grew up. This is a pic of her old house on 6th Street. It was early Sunday morning so we didn't ask for a tour!

We stayed at another historic river hotel, this one is called the Archer House and goes back to the wild west days of Northfield, Jesse James and the great bank robbery.

We wandered around the Carelton College campus where Sabine spent quite some time. Although she went to Gustavus Adolphus College in nearby St Peter, she worked at the college when she was in high school.

Reading the kiosks we found an Earth Day event: learn how to contradance and support Earth Day. Why not? We both like to dance and so we took the lessons (contradancing, by the way, is sort of an English/New England form of square dancing).

There was a live band and here we are doing the "light fantastic!" (The students were not impressed!). And, yes, they all looked sooo young!)

You probably didn't know that Northfield was the home of Malt-O-Meal. This is their old mill on the Cannon River. (It looks like it has been converted into condos). They built a new facility just west of downtown near St Olaf College.

Sabine reminded me that the river separates Carleton faculty and students from faculty and students from St Olaf College. You have to live on the correct side of the river depending on your allegiances.

We had the opportunity to attend All Saints' Episcopal Church in Northfield. There is a strong family connection with All Saints': My grandfather, Everett Wilson Couper was ordained to the priesthood in this church in the early 1900s and it became his first parish. It was great to see that the church was thriving and alive!

Earlier, on our Sunday morning walk around the Carelton campus before church, we came across this labyrinth. On the other side of the pond there is a plaque inscirbed with Mary Oliver's poem, "Summer Day."

Some of you may remember it's last line: "What is it you plan to do with your one, wild and precious life?"

So we thought and we walked this labyrinth. At the end we asked each other, "And what did you learn?" We both said the same thing: a labyrinth brings you quickly to the center and then takes you away from it. As you walk, you come closer to the center from time to time only to move away from it again. Just as you think you know where you are going, you go someplace else. But at the end you always find the center!

A good metaphor for our life together... May you, on your journey, not be discouraged when you don't always find the center -- it is there for you and you will eventually end up there.