Plunked myself down in front of the computer this morning and did my taxes. The damage wasn’t too bad–a little money back from the feds; a little money owed to the state. It has been a long time since I’ve lived long enough in a state with income tax to make enough to actually have to pay.
But there are benefits to living in states with income tax, and this afternoon, with the dog looking at me very pitifully, hoping for her afternoon walk, and with an errand I’d been putting off all day in the “big city” of Ortonville, I decided to head that direction and take advantage of my tax dollars at work by strolling along the Minnesota River Headwaters Recreational Trail.
Last time I was there, I snowshoed in, and gave it up just a little past the bridge. The time before that, I had cabin fever so badly that I thought it was a good idea to head down there when it was something like ten degrees with a bruising below-zero windchill. I made it about 100 yards. OK, maybe it was 100 feet.
Today, even though it was damp and chilly, Vega and I made it almost to the refuge (that’s Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge)–to where Doug Holtquist’s Family Farm Portrait sculpture resides. The river was high–about 100 yards shy of the sculpture, we were actually walking on the Minnesota River–a twenty-foot section of trail had about 1/4-1/2″ of water running over it.
We walked through it to see Doug’s work in its new trail-side home, but promptly turned around–figuring that in the not-too-distant future, the path could be swamped enough that we’d have to hoof it through the pasture and take the long way back. Walking on water is cool and all, so long as you don’t have to prove you’re Jesus.
Words to stay alive by–whether you’re on the Missouri or the Minnesota: Respect the River.
We were a lot less brisk and energetic about coming back–the wind was stiff in spots, and I had to hold onto my hat. Vega gave up her inquisitive stop-and-sniff-every-two-feet routine and settled into a slow, determined trot back toward the car.
The trail is so covered with deer scat in spots that it’s hard to avoid stepping in it. I found myself thinking, with a bike, a trailer, and a shovel, I’ll bet I could get a 5 gallon bucket of free manure!
We’d almost made it back to the highway, when I spotted a mass of vines and dried cones in the undergrowth.