Falling In Love

, Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sometimes you just get lucky.

There are times in my life when I start second-guessing my choices. Times when I take stock of my priorities and want to bump them around. Times when I feel restless and discontent. I’ve written about these times before.

Moving to Winona ten years ago was a great way to begin my life as a CRNA. We wanted a small town for raising the kids. The river valley is picturesque. Margaret wanted to be close to her family. It was a good choice. But still, in the light of all the possible places to live in the world, other things have been sacrificed.

I love the fact that I can run to work everyday. Or ride my bike if I’m feeling lazy. And I can do so in a remarkable location, beneath the bluffs and around the lake. But if I want to buy a pair of running shoes I can’t buy them from somebody who knows anything about running. I might as well buy them online unless I need to try them on first. We just don’t have those resources. Other “big city” stuff is missing, too; a selection of restaurants for instance. What tempts me elsewhere the most though, is mountain wilderness. There’s none of that around here.

There have been some interesting twists to life in Winona recently. The annual Great River Shakespeare Festival is a great attraction and has given a lot of focus to Elizabeth’s summers. She has made new friends and created new dreams. The acting is superb, the surrounding events are entertaining; it's an all-around good time.

Add to that the new Beethoven Festival and summers are getting pretty fun. Listening to the Minnesota Orchestra at their home venue in their Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis is one thing, but walking a couple of blocks to the park and listening to them play while the sun sets behind the bluffs adds a thrilling dimension you can’t get in the big city. Joshua Bell is coming to this year's event.

Last winter I got to see Greg Mortenson give a presentation at our annual Frozen River Film Festival. As a climber and international do-gooder, Greg is one of my heroes. He stood a few feet in front of me. His mom, who turned 90 that day, sat right behind me. Again, this was just blocks from my house.

Last night A Prairie Home Companion came to town. I’ve listened to that show since I was in high school. Before the show Andy Stein gave a master class to Elizabeth’s high school fiddler’s group. Now that’s big city stuff!

I saw one performance of APHC in St. Paul at the Fitzgerald Theater a few years ago, and thought this performance in the WSU gymnasium would pale in comparison. I was wrong, though; the performance was great. Seeing my friends there and seeing Garrison mix with the crowd made me feel like I live in a special place. When Kathryn Slusher presented a memoir of her years attending WSU, tears ran down my face. It helped me fall in love with my town again. I may still want to leave sometimes, for the mountains and the other things I’ve sacrificed to live here, but I also know that I'll want to come back.

And that makes me fell pretty lucky.


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