First of all, here is something I didn’t know: Minnesota is beautiful. Lakes and rivers and trees, all turning orange and red and yellow and pale pink. Minneapolis is also both cosmopolitan and athletic. Cyclists and excellent shoes everywhere.
–Hanging out with Spanish-speaking kindergarteners enrolled in a Spanish-to-English program, where Mary read to them in Spanish and we all helped them cut out apples (manzanas). A boy read to me about aout a colorful bird who loses all his feathers and makes a garden. I didn’t understand very much, but the pictures were good.
–Walking in the apple-sharp morning Saturday, through the forest by the Wildlife center, and then along the Minnesota River. I saw a cardinal hopping through the forest, then a blue heron magnificently lifting off, and tiny black ducks (or some other water bird) sailing through a weird landscape of giant lilies, sticking straight up into the bright day. I thought I saw what appeared to be tiny white and tan seals. Which turned out to be duck butts, sticking up in the air.
My favorite wildlife sighting was spiders. They’d made their webs along the two rectangular openings along the bridge, a bridge that stretched for a mile over the waters. Thousands upon thousands of spider webs, strung in sturdy rounds that puffed out like tiny gossamer parachutes in the insect-laden breeze.
–Running behind a little girl on a soft forest trail at sea level. She said, "No one your age can possiblykeep up with a kid." And I was careful only to give chase, never catch her. (She also said, "my favorite thing to do is think.")
–Seeing a guy in the airport and noticing his walk and realizing he’d run the Minneapolis marathon. Overhearing that he was 11th, which is cool no matter if the first ten places paid.
Best foods: a barbequed pork tamale with mango salsa at Tejas; chocolate chip and banana pancakes with raspberry syrup baked by my hostesses husband; chicken empanadas served from a tiny stand on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River.
Oh, and work: yes. I gave an after dinner talk about climbing mountains and writing. Signed books at The Mall of America. Spent most of Saturday in my room making charts and writing menus for the MIP, which is going very well. (Check back for a recipe contest.)