Bear with me; I’m going to wax a little rhapsodic.
I last blogged only two weeks ago. Before I came here, I could take that amount of time and chew it up like gristle without hardly a thought, with how little I’d be doing. I might read a book or two, and I’d play a few games of Scrabble. Since I’ve gotten here, in a time measurement corrected for inflation and subjectiveness, easily a month has passed, maybe two. Everything has been happening: just everything, it seems like. I’ve never been to so many potlucks in my whole life; one after another I’ve attended them and started meeting apparently my entire cohort of the city’s demographics. And a massive cohort it is; around every corner there’s another community house with a garden in the backyard and a bunch of people inside with books about living off the grid, homesteading, permaculture. On the weekdays I’ve been taking in a constant gush of information about how to solve the problems of people who call in with questions or requests about their medication, eight hours a day pumping and dumping, and in the fifteen-minute breaks and the half-hour lunch getting to know what kind of people I’m working with. At home in the evenings I’ve been embroiled in moving into a new house (already!—but this one will stick), with seven other people who grow food and host big potlucks and genuinely want to help each other grow. And even in the times in between, I’ve jumped straight into becoming a hardcore biker, arisen from my Cincinnati ways of “Eh, I’ll bike now and then” into a full-on cycle commuter, ten and a half miles each way, my legs at first sore but now solidifying into pistons. Small wonder that I haven’t had time to write.
Minnesota gets a short allotment of summer, and people here seize it and suck all its juices out; I haven’t weathered a Minnesota winter yet, but I already feel the urgency to make each warm day count, and in my scraps of free time I’ve been foraying out and exploring. Last week I sat by Powderhorn Lake, two blocks away from me, and watched little kids shout excitedly about ducklings and goslings to their parents in various languages. This weekend I acquainted myself with the library by reading an introduction to the Kalevala there and noticing the displays of books set out for modern-day frontiersfolk; then I nearly went to Garrison Keillor’s very own bookstore, Common Good Books, but couldn’t even get in the door because I was too distracted by a two-mile-long party starting a couple dozen yards away, and ended up walking the whole thing. (There were a lot of cheese curd carts.)
The woman of the couple I’m living with told me that some people had statistically determined that Minneapolis is the best city to turn around your fortunes. Already, among the many people I’ve met, I’ve found some who might be able to help me learn how to make money off of lettering and calligraphy, how to find fulfilling work, how to live genuinely, how to do all those things I’m always talking about. A guy who lives in the house I’m moving into makes his living off of glassblowing. Passions can actually find a foothold here. Even literally: another guy who lives there hurt his elbow recently and is willing to give me a steep discount on the yearlong climbing wall membership he can’t use anymore.
I knew there was a reason I came here: these cities are practically tailored to the measurements of my aspirations. And yet I still haven’t been able to give myself unqualified and unhesitant to them, because so much of my past lies in Ohio, and I still keep thinking about it; even while I’m blazing myself a brand new clearing here to build a house full of what I want most, I look back to the house I just came from and how much of what I wanted was already in it and can’t follow. Experimental and sketchily plotted, my time in this place, but so far it sure is fun.
File under: moving