central mn: a love story

this june marks 2 years that i’ll have been living down in southeastern minnesota again. i grew up here and have now returned. in the 15 years between, i lived in west-central and central minnesota.

st. joe, late winter twilight.

st. joe, late winter twilight.

i still miss central minnesota.

i miss the trees. i miss the lakes. i miss the cries of loons at night. i miss the sense that we’re all in this together. i miss the notion that 20 miles is not that far, and neither is 80, in all reality. i miss 4-year colleges. i miss the ‘burbs (waite park, sauk rapids, sartell, st. joe, st. augusta). i miss cruising D through st cloud on a friday night. i miss the community. i miss the st. john’s woods. i miss the forested valleys between the hwy. 23 and st. john’s exits on I-94. i miss I-94. i even miss I-94 traffic. i miss the U-turns because it meant there were actually places in st. cloud i wanted to get to. i miss tgifridays and granite city and kay’s kitchen.i miss munsinger garden. weirdly enough, i even miss coborn’s. i miss the awesomely creepy albany cemetery. i miss the trees (did i mention that?). i miss the roads (you really have no idea how wondrous the st. cloud intersections are). i miss the backroads around avon, albany, and holdingford. i miss the trees. i miss the st. cloud library. i miss the DQ in albany. i sorta miss st. cloud superman. i miss how just north of sartell you start to see hints of “up north” with pines and birch trees lining the roads. i miss miss miss it.

SJU woods.

SJU woods.

now don’t get me wrong – i DO like st. charles. it reminds me a lot of st. joe in a way. i like my house. i like looking out my backyard at the stand of trees. i even like looking out my front yard. i like the fact that the ace in town will sharpen my knives AND cut me a piece of glass.

i have been trying to pin down what it is that is rubbing me wrong about rochester (sorry to my roch readers…), and i may have pinpointed part of what bugs me – it seems like rochester is just a collection of neighborhoods instead of one big city/town that everyone cares about. nate also has said that the income disparity is pretty black and white here, whereas at least in cloud town it sort of gradually increased from one income bracket to the next (and i think STC has a more working-class base).

if st. cloud state, st. ben’s, or st. john’s called me up tomorrow and offered me the same job i’m doing now for the same pay rate, i would seriously consider taking one of them up on their offer. if they offered me more money? absolutely.

maybe i’ll be back someday.

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