The declared source of the Mississippi

I am grateful for the beauty and majesty of the Mississippi River throughout my adopted home state of Minnesota.

For years before I ever imagined moving to Minnesota, I loved the Indigo Girls lyrics about the Mississippi: “… the Mississippi’s mighty, but it starts in Minnesota, at a place that you could walk across with five steps down.”

Last year I drove up to Itasca State Park – home of the headwaters of the Mississippi – in need of rest. The park was snowy and almost completely empty – there were no other human footprints on the trails. I couldn’t quite walk across the rocky source in “five steps down,” but it’s hard to imagine this tiny, gurgle-y little stream accumulating the extraordinary grandness of the Mississippi River.

But what is wildly and extraordinarily grand is the land around the river.

When I sat down to write this post, I meant it to be about growth – how thankful I am for the ways in which we can start so small in our own lives and grow and grow – and I am thankful for that.

But when I think about being at the headwaters, I think of beauty, and majesty of the whole park, and how I drove four hours to stand there, walk around in the woods, and drive four hours home – and in those woods I found the peace and rest I needed that day.

I’m grateful for old growth woods and for snowy, untrodden paths through them. I’m grateful that for the fight that Minnesotans long before me put up to preserve that area for generations.

And I’m grateful for the winding existence of the Mississippi river in this state, because she really is a work of extraordinary beauty.

Lake Pepin, where the Mississippi meets the Chippewa River at Frontenac State Park, Minnesota.