"Greeted by thousands of lakes reflecting the sunrise up to me ... I'm back home." That was my Facebook status the morning I landed back home for a quick little Summer vacation at home to touch the roots and re-charge the spirit. It was so beautiful, I choked up (as usual) and even though it was 6:00 a.m., I hit the ground running. First stop ... Wood Lake. It's almost surreal to see it all so green and gorgeous after the desperately long Winter everyone in Minnesota endured. As a friend's boat is called, "Worth The Winter".
The first night back was a Richfield Happy Hour that was a festival of non-stop laughter. At one point I looked around the tables and realized that a good portion of the friends there were ones I've had since Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN! That's special. SPECIAL! They're some of the best people on this Earth, and each time I'm back home, I realize the love and support I have and get to carry with me through the adventure of this life. I couldn't be more blessed.
I got to have my first Danny Hendrickson Shed experience, the grown-up version of being invited into the Tree House. It did not disappoint. It had rained all day - poured - and this photo below was taken of Danny and I the exact instant the sun came out ... Divine Intervention for the Basilica Block Party we were pre-partying for.
Flocks of Minnesotans filled the streets around the Basilica, all of them ecstatic to have an evening that now actually felt like Summer. The surroundings and the majesty of that sun emerging gave it all a rather Holy feeling ...
Which was only elevated by the performance of the Main Men, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. They were there to entertain the crowd with the tunes from their Grammy-winning album, Get Up. And the parishioners indeed rose for them.
Ben and Charlie BROUGHT the Blues, and the full moon rose up behind them, perfecting the Heavenly experience. You could hear many in the crowd adding their own personal witness, as the guys gave it everything they had. Chills.
As the music ended, performers and congregation alike bowed their heads, raised their arms and gave thanks. Amen.
Then, BEHOLD! The next day dawned (and we saw it happen) to be the most gorgeous, blue sky with puffy clouds day that Minnesota is famous for in Summer (usually). As is my absolute priority, I had my swim in a natural body of water, this time the beautiful St. Croix River. Best friends from one generation sharing the day, stories, love and appreciation with the next ...
Time always flies too fast (and I'm skipping a lot even so), but I got to see so many wonderful, old friends that I was just beaming the entire time. I have a songwriting project with my dear friend, Matt Jennings, and when we went into a parking lot for him to play me one of our new ones, we turned it into a sunset tailgate jam for friends and passersby alike.
Please enjoy "Mermaid Triathlon" by Carol Gronner (lyrics) and Matt Jennings (music). And then stay tuned for the whole shebang that we'll unleash on everyone one day soon. Great times!
My darling Mother had spent the day leading her choir in festivities for Norway Day at Minnehaha Park, and was still in costume when she met up with us for the evening fun. I love this woman so much I could burst. Clearly. Skål!
It was pouring rain my last day, but we had to go visit the Falls, because Mom had told me how much it was gushing from all the recent rain. It did not disappoint, and I ended the visit home the way it began, surrounded by the green and glory of nature and home in the North.
When I've told some of these home stories in the past, a friend commented, "That's the real salt of the earth stuff right there." And he was right. Wonderful people, stunningly beautiful scenery, wholesome (and crazy) fun ... that's what it's all about.
As I come up on spending almost half of my life in both Minnesota and California, I realize how firmly I have a foot in each, and always will. How lucky am I to have two such truly special and spectacular places to call home?!
This was Minnesota Nicest. Salt of the earth never seemed so sweet. Bless each and every one of you that completely fills my heart, home and away.