It is no secret that I take my breaks walking in parks and woods. I’d much rather do that than find a sticky table at a chain coffee house. I enjoy my breaks and I take them early and often.
This post is nothing more than a few pictures from a walk in Kaposia Park. I grew up near the park on the north end of South St. Paul. We lived only a few short miles from downtown St. Paul, but it felt like another world. Ravines, woods, and fields surrounded the neighborhood. It was a good place to be a boy.
From my front door it was possible to get to the park with a short hike through mostly woods — a few backyards — on a route that is now Minnesota State Highway 52.
Over the years the state tore down the few houses across the street and started building the freeway. Those were not bad years — there was plenty for a group of boys to explore — but we knew it was only a matter of time before all of that would be lost. We plotted acts of civil disobedience to halt the construction, but inevitably got distracted building a fort or called home for dinner.
The park and ravines, however, we were told would not change and for the most part that’s true. It isn’t the same though. Where there were open fields and trees hundreds of cars speed to and from St. Paul. The unavoidable roar of traffic is hardly the same as straining to hear a springtime wind blow through tall cotton woods across a field.
Wilson Elementary, my school, was a short walk from Kaposia Park and once a year we had a spring picnic there to collect bugs, plants, and get wet in the creek. We always had interesting things for lunch, like spaghetti, that we made over open fires and charcoal grills. (That’s probably illegal today.) There was nothing about that day that I didn’t like. Grades kindergarten through six lined up behind their teacher and marched over to the park in a long snaking procession…all 81 of us, give or take, plus teachers.
A large part of the ravine has been filled in. I’m told there was an erosion problem. The creek had been there for centuries, emptying into the Mississippi where a Sioux settlement was located at the mouth of the ravine, but now it was causing an erosion problem. They also filled it in to make it more accessible to walkers. It’s a shame though.
The city added a disc golf course to the park which sometimes can be distracting, but I don’t mind it. The golfers seem like a decent lot and they tell me it is a good course.
But back to my break! Good lord. The phone rang and it was my office. I had three options. Ignore it, take the call and say I’m busy, or take the call and get to work. I took the call and reviewed the accounts they wanted to review. I got to work. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the park.
The pictures here were all taken while on the phone. I found this to be a good way to work. I like standing and walking when I talk. I can’t explain why, but I am much better on the phone if I can walk back and forth while chatting. I am an ambulatory talker. Even reporting bad news isn’t all that bad when you’re walking and talking in a park. (Fortunately most of the news was good news.)
(As an aside or footnote, I cannot find ANY pictures of Wilson Elementary School. I got one from a friend in the neighborhood, but saved it in a file I cannot find.)