I'm in Minneapolis for work this week (hi, ConFab!), so I thought I would take a walk to the Mississippi River this morning to see what it looks like from up here. Turns out, it's kind of weird.
This is what the Mississippi River looks like from Minneapolis:
Weird, right? Especially when you've spent most of your life living next to the other end of the same river, the end that looks like this:
Like eating barbecue in Texas, standing on the bridge overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis feels just a little bit wrong. At its northern end, the river is beautiful, all blue and smooth and narrow. It looks manageable and tame, like a kinder, friendlier, more polite version of the end that I'm used to, the end where that water has merged with other water to carve wider swaths until it becomes the huge storied expanse of fast-moving, blue-brown muck.
As a Southerner, I feel a little trite talking about the Mississippi River. I didn't grow up with a love of Mark Twain, I grew up staring at the thing. Instead of dreaming of riding the river on a raft, I was more skeptical, knowing that it was full of giant catfish, whole trees pretending to be driftwood and killer currents; knowing that if one were to fall in, it would be a very bad time, indeed.
And even though I've seen the other end of the Mississippi and know that it stretches the length of the country, I can't help but think of it as a southern river.
The fact that the Mississippi River can have ice chunks in it is just entirely too weird.