NORTHFIELD. There’s so much to appreciate about this southern Minnesota community with the slogan of Cows, Colleges and Contentment. Cows honor the area’s rich agricultural heritage. Colleges reference the two resident colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf. And contentment frames the feeling in this riverside town rich in natural beauty, history, and a thriving business community and arts scene.
Every time I walk along the River Walk aside the Cannon River or meander through the downtown on Division Street, I am struck by the sense of artistic vibrancy. The sense of care in this community. Pride. Hometown loyalty.
I see this in shop windows with displays that are creative and eye-catching.
I read this in words imprinted in cement as part of Northfield’s Sidewalk Poetry Project.
I hear this in music performed outdoors at eateries.
I view this in colorful art.
In neon lights marking businesses.
In publicly posted gratitude.
And banners that show each individual matters.
Northfield draws me back, as a writer and a photographer, to notice nuances of place. The rushing water. The home-grown art. The aged buildings in this community where locals, in 1876, defeated the James-Younger Gang during a raid at the First National Bank.
Northfield is simply one of those towns when, each time I visit, I leave feeling better for having spent time there.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling