Written by Api Sulistyo
May 31, 2020
Oh what a gorgeous Sunday morning (5/31/2020) in Minnesota! One of the best ways to appreciate and enjoy it is by some outdoor activities. That was what my friend Ramon and I did.
As planned, I arrived at the parking lot at Thomson park at 8:05am. As a punctual guy, Ramon was sitting is his car waiting for me. We had met in this parking lot many times in the past and then we would always drive somewhere else to start our walk. This morning we decided to start the walk from the parking lot. Thomson park is located in West Saint Paul.
We crossed over the bridge of I-52 and came to a healthy and green park. “This place is famous for frisbee competitions,” Ramon told me. This park is only a couple miles from his house. I saw a few frisbee disc baskets in various locations. Some were placed high up and looked very challenging to reach.
We eventually reached the bank of the Mississippi River. We had to share the path with other walkers, runners, and bikers. “Good morning. What a great day,” a couple greeted us. The man was holding the leash of their big black dog. We had a brief conversation and I suddenly felt comfortable with this “Minnesota nice” value.
“Look at those eagles. What are they doing?” I said to Ramon. “Senor, those are not eagles. They are vultures. They like hanging out there and eating any food stranded from the river.” These birds remind me of ‘gagak’, in Indonesian – black crows, who have a very strong sense of smell. People in our village are afraid of gagak. Their sound in equated with the sound of death.
When we reached 3.6 miles, we decided to turn back. We planned to walk 7 miles. It has been the magic number for us. It feels like the right distance. It usually takes us a little longer than two hours.
We had to go through a tunnel before we reached a park near the Mississippi River. The tunnel was built for walkers and bikers. Cars are forbidden to go through this tunnel. The wall is painted white and I noticed there was some new and fresh graffiti. “I can’t breathe” one of the graffiti says. The other says, “F..k SSPD.” I believe it stands for South Saint Paul Police Department. I stood in front of the graffiti for a moment. I could feel some anger and frustration from the people who wrote them.
As we were walking back to our parking lot, I had a few things in my mind. Whoever created the scenic park and gave us a wonderful day to enjoy, she/he must be a genius and caring creator. We can always find nice people wherever we go. When we sow kindness, we will probably reap kindness. The graffiti put me in a realistic perspective that life is not always flowery among us. We need to share and care for each other to make it better. (I walked through this tunnel again this morning (6/7/2020) and found out that the graffiti had disappeared. The wall had been repainted and looks clean).