ON A FEBRUARY AFTERNOON, sunshine heats the earth, slants shadows upon snow fallen fresh that morning. It is a rare day of respite from a too-cold winter in Minnesota and I am anxious to get outside.
So Randy and I hop in the Chevy and head toward Dundas, just south of Northfield. I want to walk in Memorial Park, home of the Dundas Dukes. Randy pulls the car into the riverside park, loops and stops on a snowy road next to a trail. We exit, tread with caution along a path, diverting off the icy route as needed to avoid slipping.
Passing the abandoned playground, I observe swings hung statue-still.
I note footprints through the snow leading to a Little Free Library. Used even in winter.
A short hike away, I step onto the foot bridge spanning the Cannon River.
I pause midway, focus on ruins of the Archibald Mill,
an open spot of water,
the river ribboning white between shoreline trees.
In the simplicity of this place, these scenes, I feel content. I am here with Randy, who appreciates the natural silence as much as me.
Overhead I watch a Delta airliner angling down toward the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. I wonder about those aboard. Would they rather be leaving than arriving?
Some 1,700 miles away in the warmth of Ft. Myers, the Minnesota Twins toss and catch balls, swing bats and practice in the sunshine of opening week of spring training. Here in Dundas, opening day is still months away. I imagine the bold orange seats and grandstands filled with spectators, the cracks of bats, the swish of baseballs when the Dukes meet the Hampton Cardinals here on April 29. I can almost hear the conversations and laughter that will soon fill this place.
I head back toward the car, tracking in the footsteps of those who, like me, dream. Of sunny summer days. Of baseball. Of walks in the park. And of rivers that run free of ice, free of snow, free of winter under a Minnesota sky.
© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling