Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Study of Life as as Jigsaw Puzzle

Each weekend brings huge crowds, festive spirits and stories bubble out as I am inspired by those painting me at Bristol Renaissance Festival. It is a marvelous place, full of excitement, joy, and magic. It is an honor to be perform at such a wonderful show. If you have never been, it is excellent. It is about the same size historically as Bristol in England was back in the 1500s. It is mapped out like a real town, with streets and cross streets as well as several ponds on site. Talented musicians, skilled crafters, and gifted entertainers are everywhere you look; from wonderful braids to Birds of Prey- you can find the best at Bristol. One of my friends told me I was walking on clouds, wondering why I was so happy. I thought about it. Lively imaginations of patrons, playful hearts, and new friends to be made. Being in a place where I am appreciated and nurtured by festival and public makes a world of difference. I feel like I fill my paint bottles and slip into another world on the weekends.
Author, storytelling at a festival as "The Painted Lady" while children paint. 

On sunday night I shower off and step back into this one. Where to this week? This week I am visiting the Minneapolis area. When I arrived we immediately left to visit Minnehaha Falls and to have Red Snapper at a Mexican Restaurant on Lake St. Minnehaha Falls is a beautiful waterfall in a park in the middle of Minneapolis, with trails along the river and a restaurant serving fish and homemade ice cream. No one rushes around there, music always seems to fill the air from buskers outside the restaurant.
Minnehaha Falls after sunset. 

Looking down the trail at Danny Lord, it looks like we left Minnesota and stepped into a tropical paradise. 

Behind the Falls. 

Author at Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota

Yesterday found us napping on benches overlooking the city at Prospect park. Rumor has it that Dylan was inspired to write "All Along The Watchtower" there, but Dylan has never resolved the question by identifying his muse. Was it an inspiring place? Possibly, it was a comfortable spot to doze off in the sun.
The Witches Hat Water Tower that Might have Inspired Dylan

Heron painted near the door of the Water Tower.

Truly an inspiring view. 

Realizing we had hours until sunset, we decided to visit Fort Snelling as well. We were greeted by staff dressed as if they were back in the 1800s at the Fort. They shared history but were not historical characters. I enjoyed a music lesson on a gourd banjo and watching the black smith strike steel and flint, which is a little trickier than you'd think.

Dinner at A&Js was the best walleye in the Twin Cities, then we made our way to Lake Harriet for sunset. We listened to polkas and tangos played in the bandshell by talented local musicians as couples danced. We sat at the water's edge and watched ducks try to mooch snacks from onlookers who might give in to their cuteness. I was relieved to see that most respected the duck's normal diet and did not give treats to encourage unhealthy eating habits in wildlife. If you want to feed them, they do not naturally eat bread or sweets so please refrain from human food for wildlife. The sky went pink, reflecting on the water amidst the resting sailboats.

Sunset at Lake Harriet, Minnesota

Today brings clouds and the potential for rain, we'd had plans of going out in canoes and kayaks on Lake Calhoun. Instead we're looking at indoors options for fun. We've been doing a few mundane responsible chores in-between our adventures. Picking up medications, filling out forms, updating vehicle registration, and standing in lines.  Plotting the next few weeks in travel.

I have a list of places to go from Michigan to Ohio, St. Louis to Indianapolis. I have several places to go in Chicago. Time, cost, and travel expenses as well as scheduling need to be brought together in an effective way. I will be pulling maps and plotting routes, enjoying the adventure but missing the time with my loved ones while work carries me into the wind for another race through the states. I am looking forward to the chance of seeing and hugging friends whose voices I have not heard in months or years. I am looking forward to taking the time to stop and see some of the beautiful places, to inspire me to return for longer visits in the future. On occasions like this, I think how much I live like an old time Scout. Ahead of the group, taking care of myself and exploring to report back to everyone on the wonders and experiences I have found so that others might walk the best and brightest paths to appreciate them as well.

Safe travels to you, if you follow in my footsteps; give hugs to my friends. Share my greetings from afar and know that as I stood, walked, sat at these places I thought of the day that you might do the same in those very places where you find yourself.

Life is always a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes we think all the pieces are together only to have them spill to the floor. Sometimes pieces are lost, while new pieces from other puzzles may fit and make unpredictable changes to the whole. When I travel frequently I feel like I am holding random pieces in my hand. I think they fit, I find that reality changes their form as events unfold. In the end they may turn out to be a handful of dust or a handful of gold; a lot depends on chance. Good luck!