A few days ago, I was talking with someone I've known since before starting My Minnesota. When I mentioned that this publication had almost reached its one year anniversary, he asked what I had learned during that year. I though for a moment or two (or three) before responding "I've learned to pay attention to what's going on around me." I should have added that I've learned to be much more appreciative of the beauty and variety in my Minnesota.
black cherry tree and conifers © harrington
Up until recently, if you had asked me to name the state tree, I would have proudly responded with certainty "white pine." I would, with even more certainty, have been wrong. The Minnesota state tree is the red pine, also known as the Norway pine. Maybe if Minnesota had designated a state tree before most of its forests were logged, the white pine might have been selected. Some of the specific lessons learned are that there are several black cherry trees in the area; we've started to distinguish between the red and the white oaks; and we're sorting out whether the local pines are red, or white, or some of each. We're also learning to appreciate small victories and the beauty of sunrises. Jane Kenyon understands that small victories and happiness are linked.
Autumn sunrise © harrington
There’s just no accounting for happiness,or the way it turns up like a prodigalwho comes back to the dust at your feethaving squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?You make a feast in honor of whatwas lost, and take from its place the finestgarment, which you saved for an occasionyou could not imagine, and you weep night and dayto know that you were not abandoned,that happiness saved its most extreme formfor you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you neverknew about, who flies a single-engine planeonto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikesinto town, and inquires at every dooruntil he finds you asleep midafternoonas you so often are during the unmercifulhours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.It comes to the woman sweeping the streetwith a birch broom, to the childwhose mother has passed out from drink.It comes to the lover, to the dog chewinga sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,and to the clerk stacking cans of carrotsin the night.It even comes to the boulderin the perpetual shade of pine barrens,to rain falling on the open sea,to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.
Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.