Samhain Thanksgiving Moon
I have decided, over and over again, to remain here in Minnesota. Leaving occurs to me from time to time, more often now the direction considered is north, beyond our borders where the politics, health care and weather all seem more sane. Even with those attractions, and they are considerable, Minnesota and in particular the Twin Cities Metro always trumps any competition.
The arts here are a wonder. Having the MIA and the Walker in a small market city like Minneapolis doesn’t amaze us, because, after all, they are here. But it would if you considered them in a national, even international light. The Guthrie is only the most visible island of a large theatrical archipelago, boasting more seats than any other metro area in the nation outside of New York City.
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is a gem. Again, nationally. The Minnesota Symphony used to be an internationally renowned organization, as recently as two years ago, before dimbulbs began a series of self-inflicted wounds. Dance, local rock music, glass and clay arts, printmakers and galleries all thrive here. Jazz, supported by KBEM of internet renown, flourishes.
There are substantially more dining options now than when I moved here in 1970. More than Kate and I can visit before they disappear.
Writers in Minnesota consistently publish and make the national book news. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts and the Loft provide outside academia support for the literary community.
Healthcare is as good as it gets. Anywhere. Hawaii and Minnesota are tops in the US and good US healthcare is as good as there is anywhere.
When policy makers divided the land in the Upper Midwest and created Minnesota they included the intersection of three US biomes: prairie, deciduous forest (Big Woods) and the boreal forest. The Wisconsin glaciation scoured out numerous lakes and the Great Lakes. Though flat our terrain is remarkable for its diversity and its pristine nature in the north where the moose and the wolf still live. At least for now.
Where else do you get all these things? Nowhere else. That’s a large part of why I stay. Another, equally large part, is friends. The Woolly Mammoths, the MIA docent class of 2005, the Sierra Club and various past political activity has peopled my life with friends. They’re here and I am, too.
In the past, too, I valued the Minnesota political culture which showed compassion to the poor, effectiveness in government and sound stewardship of the state’s natural resources. A long desert of mean policy makers, eyes and hearts captured by the great god money, have devastated much of that culture though I continue to believe it exists.
The common good, defined broadly, is just that. Our future depends on an educated work force, receiving a decent wage, a hand-up when life turns sour and a healthy environment in which to work and live. These have seemed and still seem to me the necessary elements of a civil society.