I sit on the giant boulders of the Duluth shoreline and hear city buses in the distance, unloading their human cargo here in Canal Park. Lake Superior stretches so far in front of me that water and sky become one and no shoreline can be seen. I was born in spectacular Duluth, Minnesota. As a city kid, I rode the bus from my working class neighborhood to swim at Park Point with its miles of blonde sand. My dad worked on the Aerial Lift Bridge and I was allowed to climb the metal stairs with him to the operator’s ‘house’ where we watched the enormous ships pass below, and listened to the ‘talking horns’ blasting between boat and bridge.
The majestic hills of Duluth serve as a striking backdrop to the Lake. I feel like I am at the highest roller coaster peak, ready to drop out of sight, whenever I ride from the top of Skyline Drive to the lake below. And when I take the winding drive up to Enger Tower Park I feel the rhythm of the city, the way it twists and turns, bumps and grinds as if to a slow salsa beat. Once in the park, I wander paths that make me feel like leaping into the sky and flying over the city and the lake, the ships and the beaches. From this cold rock I am perched upon, I can see the top of the hills and the Tower.
Fall dresses my city in riotous layers of red, orange, and gold. The city looks like a giant, terraced rock garden descending from the clouds to the lake. In the spring, that same granite garden pushes out pastel petals of new blossoms and green trees.
In the winter, the hills are treacherous with snow and ice. They challenge the most adept drivers to maneuver their vehicles upwards and sideways, slipping and sliding to their destinations. Gloves, hats, boots, layers of dryness and warmth are required to enjoy the months of December through March. True natives push their snowmobiles over the mountainous, white terrain at night under a full moon, or they fly down the sides of Spirit Mountain on wings called skis.
No matter where I travel or live, my heart is permanently connected to Duluth and the Lake. This is my favorite part of the world.