Return To The Tundra

I flew back to Minneapolis last Thursday to celebrate a good friend’s birthday.  It seems to be a rare occasion as an adult to spend birthdays with my friends.  They’re spread out from coast to coast and top to bottom of the country.  But an invite was extended and it was hard to not think about going.  I was so excited when my honeys gave me the thumbs up to go celebrate with our friend and that my in-laws were here and could help out with our kids over the weekend. With the exception of Saturday when I traipsed around the tundra in the morning and shot headshots in the afternoon, my camera stayed in vacation mode.  There are plenty of iphone images on my Instagram account, if you want to see more.   Here is what I saw on Saturday.  Streets covered in snow and ice that made me. so. very. thankful. that my friends were driving.

 A fresh two inches of snow fell the day before.  It covered everything in a new layer of white that was perfect for snowballs and a therapeutic crunch under the boots.

 After an awesome Cuban breakfast, we visited Minnehaha Falls.  It was frozen from top to bottom.  I thought that the blue ice was pretty rad.

 We skipped the nearest stairs that were a diagonal sheet of ice and went for the second set that weren’t quite as treacherous.  It was a slow descent that required a constant grip on the railing and slow footsteps.  I was a slow poke since I wasn’t wearing snow boots.

 In this photograph below, you can see two people standing on TOP of the frozen falls.  I was told some people walk behind the falls.  When they’re frozen like they are now.  And in the summer, when the water is falling fast.  Minnesotans are crazy.  I believe I can say that without fear of retribution as I’m married to one.  And have family members who jump into frozen lakes mid-winter.  Craze.  Eeee.

 After we got our fill of the falls, we turned around and hiked to the Mississippi River through the woods.  Aside from a few falls when I busted my backside, knee, and a lens hood, it was so quiet.  We saw very few other people.  The solitude made it easy to enjoy the beauty and quiet of winter.  The heat packs glued to my shoulders, hips, and feet may also have helped.  I have never seen anything like this little cave that was covered in a saffron powder.  The rock was soft and covered in carvings of names and symbols.

 After a tall chai and a shared cheesecake in a local coffee shop, it was time to drive across town and shoot some headshots.  This pretty girl helped me test my lighting before getting started.  She has gorgeous green eyes, don’t you think?

 After we were done shooting, I got a lesson in spinning.  A spinning wheel was pulled out and I was shown how yarn is spun.  I was fascinated.  I love (LOVE!) seeing how things are created and this was a first for me.  These hands are quite talented and made it look so easy.  I tried spinning the fibers and hair into a strand, but couldn’t coordinate my feet movements on the pedals with my hands and kept breaking the fibers before it could be spun even an inch.  I already knew my feet lacked coordination.  And while my hands may be adept in various ways, they did not readily pick up this skill.

 Over the course of the weekend, one of my friends made the wish that I lived in Minnesota.  When those words were spoken, it was the first time I realized I wasn’t opposed to that possibility.  I always felt, being a girl who freezes under 70 degrees, that the tundra would be unbearable outside of the standard three weeks of summer when I think the temperatures are truly pleasant (ie. over 85-90F).  What I have learned with my recent monthly trips to this state is that the people more than make up for the weeks (okay, months) of subzero temps.  Although I haven’t lived in the Midwest since I was a child, that is where I feel most at home.  After a decade and a half of being strongly against even visiting Minnesota in the winter, I’m sure my husband will now believe hell has frozen over.  And then begin looking for job openings in Minnesota.   I know he has never stopped missing his home state.

 Whenever I fly home, I get pumped up from the time the plane hits the Atlanta runway.  I can’t walk through the terminal fast enough to get to the train and end up running up the two story escalator with 30+ pounds of gear on my back and a suitcase in my right hand.  I blast the radio driving home and play the music of my people.  And by my people, I mean my mom and aunt, who also appreciate 60s and 70s classic folk rock music.  Big changes are coming over the next month.  My logo is getting an update that’s got me excited.  And a new website is in the works.  Collaborations with a couple of non-profits, working with active and reserve duty military members, and upcoming engagement, couples, family and senior shoots all have me counting down days.  Good things are coming this spring. And I can’t wait.

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