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A village with heart
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Persistence
The charming side of obstinance
10/25/16

Perhaps I'm a bit of a one-trick-pony, but the movement of water keeps fascinating me. I'm consoled by the words of Yul Brynner when asked if he wasn't bored doing the same King and I play after 20 years. Face alive, thumb and forefinger almost touching, he said, "I'm this close to getting it right." I feel like that with waterfalls.

With Minnesota giving me lots to work with, I found the trails giving me plenty of time to ask myself what drove me to keep pushing this particular specialty. I'm generally not a persistent person, often losing interest in a project once I know how to solve its thorny problem and aggravating folks counting on me to button up.

One frightening possibility is that I've discovered modern art, that senseless mix of colors and shapes without rhyme nor reason, and lamentably found some corner of it to please me. Something moves me when the color changes as water flows over rocks, particularly if the water has tannin in it. I find myself staring at a section of swirling water, oblivious to the rocks, or waterfall, or even the mountain around it. By itself, that moving swirl is sending a message right past my eyes to a mysterious sense that chooses to reveal only the pleasure it produces and not the understanding it conceals.

No worries though that I'll be joining the chimps splashing paint on canvas to adorn Central Park's penthouses. My pictures will remain visions of the world we live in.

There is that other possibility, that persistence is an unending peeling back of layers, as with the proverbial onion. Probing deeper and deeper into waterfalls may be my escape into meditation, a crutch to limp into places available only to those who can remove the world's distractions. Repetition calms the mind with a familiar rhythm, a world where we know our way well enough to focus on the details that unsure newbies overlook.

No worries that I'll come out of the closet with my mushrooms and bong pipes to enhance the experience. I'm too much of a cheapskate for that.

So, what is the real reason to keep on keeping on, to keep turning our hamster wheel around and around? My answer is this; if the wheel is taking you somewhere, hang on for the ride. If every rotation looks the same, as with the ubiquitous 9-5 boring job, go find another wheel.

Key is to assess your hamster wheel by yourself. Everyone has an opinion about where you should persist. Yul Brynner found his without listening to the peanut gallery, as did Michelangelo, taking years to paint the Sistine Chapel while the dukes of here and there were waiting impatiently to get their mugs done.

How to know when you've found the right object of your persistence? You won't. It will find you. At the end of so many trails, I round a bend listening to the growing thunder, or delicate splashing, and a waterfall reaches out to me, almost to ask, "Where you been?"

By way of introductions, I prowl about breathing in its mist and listening for a faint heartbeat, each so different from the one before. An hour may go by before we cement our relationship with a photograph. And when I finally take my leave, it isn't to mark the waterfall checkbox as to go eagerly to visit the next of these creatures of wonder.

If this turns me into "The Waterfall Guy", well that's easier to remember than my last name.

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Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis

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The snag

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Minneapolis is surrounded by parks

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Upper Mississippi River Dam #1

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No shit Sherlock

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St. Croix River

For more pictures of Minnesota, click here.


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