Yesterday, I somehow stumbled upon a place of tranquility in St. Paul, a spot where there were no cars to be heard, no people nearby, nothing but the mighty Mississippi, a family of ducks, and dragonflies the color of a an old boat that was once painted a brilliant royal blue, but had faded over time from the sea and the salt.
If you’re ever looking to feel strong and at peace at the same time, the Lake Street – Marshall Avenue Bridge may be what you need. A walk on a nice day may leave you feeling at peace. Racing traffic at 30 mph having made it through the stoplight somewhere near the base of the hill on your descent might leave you feeling strong. Running 100 feet above and across a river 100 meters wide will do both.
Standing in the middle of the bridge near a pair of benches and gazing down, I spit over the railing and watched my little saliva ball fall for an eternity before it landed with an inaudible plunk, and gazed farther up the river to a two-story touring boat. My eyes found their way to a pair of floating docks sitting off of the west bank, and that’s where my feet began to move. No sooner getting to the other side had I found the path that led to the boathouse and launch site. There was a couple there with kayaks and a family of three ducks on the dock. 20 feet long and grey-white, I stretched myself out on the dock and fell asleep in the sun. The swirling of the water, the endless little designs of debris and motion were mesmerizing. Stare at the water moving past you long enough, and you forget that you’re not moving too. That was what was so beautiful about being there: It was as if I was sitting on a 20 foot long, grey-white raft with dragonflies and ducks, being transported by transient blue swirls. I sat there until the coffee orders had gone away, until I could hear nothing but those blue swirls.