oasis

I had a small adventure/awakening in Minnesota a couple of days ago.

We needed to make a road trip to the gopher state, have a visit and then turn around, get back in the car and come home in time for another family invitation. I could do this.

The question was – how could I fit in a walk? We were staying in a hotel near expressway exits and mega shopping malls in an area I’m not familiar with, and I really didn’t want to walk in or around the malls because – I was in Minnesota!

After a very pleasant car ride, which lasted about six and a half hours, through amazingly scenic and picturesque farmland, we arrived in Roseville, Minnesota. With the plan being to meet later on in the evening for dinner, I now had a couple of hours to spare. What better way to shake off all of that time in the car than to bust out and take a walk.

Having never been to Roseville, I wasn’t sure where to take a walk. So…I reached for my smart phone and, pulled up the map app and found my location. Very close to my location, I could see a large green circle surrounded by two blue circles – hmmm…a possible park and two lakes? Pinching the screen bigger I discovered “Oasis Park”.  Alright, can we take a moment to talk about the name of this park? Here I was in a “foreign land” needing green space and, well you get the picture. Sometimes life is soooo freaky.

oasis park

I googled the park and sure enough it had a little .27 mile walking trail. Hey, for me it was good enough as a destination. Now, how do I get there? I started out using my phone’s compass to head out behind the hotel in the direction of the park. Minnesota has had much more snow than Chicago, so tall boots were in order.  Later on, I found I had made a good decision because many of the sidewalks and footpaths were not shoveled or cleared.

Using the pin on the map and tracking footprints in the snow I found the boundary of the park and entered, hoping to find a shortcut to the trail. I noticed the pin had me very close to the blue circle – the Lake. At one point, it felt slippery underfoot and sure enough, I was on ice. Time to backtrack. I noticed there was no other clearly marked pathway around this lake to get to the walking trail and I was not comfortable being so close to the frozen water. I decided to leave the footpath to those familiar with the area, and I headed back out to circle through the industrial neighborhood until I found the main park opening.

Inside the park I was able to walk a few laps and catch a glimpse of the only sun I had seen all day in a sublime sunset. This made it all worthwhile.

sunset, mn

When I returned to the hotel, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole experience. Ironically, it took more time to get to and from my “oasis” than time spent on the actual walking trail completing a few laps. Hmmm… again, kind of freaky, especially when you think about the saying “It is more about the journey than the destination”. Then there was my failed attempt at taking a shortcut, failure or awareness of redirection?

I have to admit, I was highly engaged with each footstep of this walk, especially when around the water. It was fun for me to be out in the world, navigating through an unfamiliar place using my smartphone and my brain to “find my way” to a new destination!

Omigod! This whole experience is starting to become a metaphor for my life as I look through the lens of retirement.

I better quit here –  because it’s starting to get crazy! – all because of a walk.

boots

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