MPR News Reflections and observations on the news

A cure for politics? Minnesota’s Boundary Waters

No pressure, Boundary Waters, but the New York Times this afternoon is telling the nation you’re the cure for the political cesspool gripping the nation right now.

There you are, right at the top of the page of the Gray Lady’s website:

The extensive story, from travel writer Peter Fox, doesn’t really tell us anything people in this area don’t already know, but the article isn’t really intended for us.

We listened to nature for an hour at Rebecca Falls as Paul napped and we ate lunch. It didn’t sound like anything I’d heard before. Chickadees, white-throated sparrows, finches, grosbeaks and loons called out. A bald eagle glided overhead and an osprey crashed into the water a hundred yards away.

The lake was layered with sweet flag, sedge, lilies, horehound, bulrush and buckbean. The air smelled like stagnant water, rotting wood, pine and sweet columbine.

Wild licorice, fireweed, hawkweed, bastard toadflax and littleleaf pussytoes created a carpet underfoot. Thin, green marsh fern circled lakes alongside moonwort, rattlesnake fern and horsetail.

The accurately idyllic prose, punctuated with criticism of the proposed copper-nickel mine near where the South Kawishiwi River flows into the BWCA, should soon lead to us meeting lots of people in the woods who don’t sound Minnesotan, but who are trying to get away from the ugliness of the real world. Who can blame them?

Sunset in the Boundary Waters. Sean CollinsIt was a comment to Fox’s story, which is part of a forthcoming book, that adequately captured the challenge of solitude.

“There are no easy ways to be in it, thus the attraction.”