And as you come up from 35w, and the sun is setting just so, its orange halo spreading across the clouded sky, all the light and dark and cloud and sky reflect in the windows of the carefully constructed downtown. Sometimes its too bright, too bright to keep looking and the orange glows and rolls over into pink bliss. Its almost too much just coming into the city.
And then there's the river, and by it, late at night in the winter you see all the city reflected in its black waves. And the city moves and meanders with the waves of the river harkening back to days when men dreamed dreams and you know someone saw this before you, and before it was built they saw it. And with that vision it came to be. Its beautiful, heart-stoppingly so. The cold air biting at your insides every time you breath only adds to the beauty, the misery brings about special consideration to every detail. Each light, individually blinks and dips and returns in the waves like tiny fish hovering just below the surface and bobbing with the waves. And I remember this looking over a fence, and stopping what I was doing, I'm closing my eyes now to see it again. I remember my glove was off and I touched the metal pole on the fence and it burned, but I just kept it there to warm it up. And the river was black, black as anything I've ever seen. Like tar or pitch flowing softly and quietly under the stone arch bridge. A sea wall like that of The Fortress europa stood on the other side of the river and the buildings all lit up were above it so all their lights came down into the river and flooded the gorge with light. But it was still dark everywhere, like the light wasn't really there, it was just seen and did not cast any light beyond where it sat, or bobbed, or hovered.
The Spring is my favorite, but the Winter is unbelieveable. I love when the river freezes. That giant river, huge, deep powerful is completely beaten by a different element. That's Minnesota to a T. All the elements competing to make your life miserable. They take turns and see who can do the most damage. And in the winter, when it gets really cold, that cold that you can see through the windows of your house. The type that doesn't care what type of jacket you're wearing becasue to stay warm you have to do something. I remember being on a lake, three or four feet of glass-smooth ice, faceted in cracks below the surface that reflected white angles back at me. My uncle fell and spilled the minnows all over the ground and as his head hit the ice in a gross crack he yelled "get the Minnows". My uncle is from Nebraska, but he's a true minnesotan. he moved to Atlanta for a while and then came back. But on that day the ice was so clear, you could see fish underneath, and you could slide on your belly for thirty feet if you wanted. The wind blew whisps of snow in curling dust devils all across the lake and a helicopter landed on the ice. When the people got out you could see the cold hit their eyes. The eyes are so sensitive to the cold and the blood rushes to them even as they bulge from the intense frigidity.
Similarly in Minneapolis, when its like that, the city goes on, but it adjusts. You still see those guys running to starbucks in shirtsleeves, and they clutch themselves and tip toe because their shoes are all of the sudden very hard and hurt their feet. THe pants they thought would give them 30 seconds of warmth give out in the blink of an eye and a man reaches for his pocket to protect his most importants.
The spring is my favorite in Minneapolis, for the parks come to bloom in a neon green. And everything is green, the thirsty lawns for once in the year are quencheed and glow radiating their health and