Minnehaha Creek travels twenty-two miles eastward from Lake Minnetonka through a riverbed of earth 10,000 years old—sediments and gravel left over from the last great ice age—to converge with the Mississippi River. Less than a mile before the confluence the creek abruptly falls fifty-three feet past 450 million years of geologic history characterized in three distinct rock layers formed during the Ordovician Period—Plateville Limestone, Glenwood Shale and St. Peter Sandstone.
I take great pleasure walking the frozen waterway downriver of the falls and crowds of people. Outfitted with a pair of waterproof boots I climb over rocks, crouch below fallen trees, and stand at the edge of open water framed by velum-like ice; even in winter there is much to be enchanted by. I walk on what was once an unremarkable spot on Earth located near the equator and covered in a warm sea. Its floor was made of the erosion of Cambrian sandstone formations, followed by the accumulation of decaying life matter and shells which, by pressure alone, became solid rock covered and uncovered by four glacial periods, over time becoming (details left out) a creek with a waterfall upstream, revered by local humans as the perfect place to make engagement and family photos mailed to friends as magnets wishing them, “Happy Holidays from the Stalvig’s” and used to hold up pizza delivery menus and yoga class schedules on refrigerator doors. I feel disoriented following these rivers and rivulets of thought that I find abundant in these natural places. Considering my life as statistically miraculous and against the astronomical odds of the universe, I answer with a seemingly unappreciative and trite, “Huh…That’s crazy…” I sing Jóga, a song by Björk, its words I once saw printed onto a window that looked out to the dreary tarmac of Keflavik airport:
"All these accidents that happen follow the dot. Coincidence make sense only with you. You don't have to speak, I feel emotional landscapes they puzzle me.
The lowest elevational point in Minneapolis is also the end of Minnehaha Creek. In the St. Peter Sandstone rock face lovers have carved their initials and hearts into the 99.4% pure quartz sand formation—G+J—H+N—T+B. This very deposit is the reason Ford made a factory on the other side of the river in 1925 and is perfect for glassmaking and windshields yet so delicate I can carve into it with a stick. Professions of fleeting love make deep impressions in a seemingly infinite and immovable medium revealing glittering crystals that have not seen the sun for 450 million years—what an intersection. C + S captures my attention and I wonder if they are still cozy in bed next to one another this crisp Sunday morning, as I scratch three fresh lines with a key and make a remarkably different statement—€ + $, and yet no more significant to the Canada geese watching from the open water or geologic history of this ravine that is constantly in motion.
I climb steep zigzagging steps to the top of the hill and can now see the cars passing by on the freeway and experience their Doppler effect. This soil is only 10,000 years old but might as well be a billion for all I’m able to understand. In the distance the skyline of Minneapolis sparkles and I’m reminded of a saying I once heard: “it’s only a matter of time before a plate breaks.” I wonder how long will it be before the steel and glass of those majestic skyscrapers erode in the wind and rain to become sediments bulldozed away by glacial flow and resettled thousands of years and miles away before being pressurized into rock. Perhaps a ravine will be carved out of it after 300 million years and something passing through will stop to engrave into the rock face a declaration of its love, right next to the wheel of what was once an office chair. I’m overwhelmed by the relative equality of all things when considered on geologic timescale, by the miraculous turn of events that have lead to this moment, to the moment which is my life in concert with others and this earth.