200 miles north of the Super Bowl

PHOTO: Tony Webster, Flickr CC

The fighter jets patrolling the skies above Super Bowl LII also maneuver above my home 200 miles north of Minneapolis. Roaring ghosts chasing the horizon. I think this is where they turn around or refuel. Safe. Remote. Nothing down here but trees, lakes and us.

In this way living 200 miles from the Super Bowl is really like living 200 miles from a war zone. You can’t escape the talk, the news, or the sound of those jets. But otherwise it’s quiet. Whatever is happening there isn’t here, not yet. Maybe not ever. One imagines the many parts of the world where people simply switch the flags when things change in the city. Or maybe stop flying flags altogether.

Plenty changes with age, but for me one of the big differences is how much time I’ve come to spend here at home in the woods. Other than teaching at the college in Hibbing, I spend most of my time at home. Write. Work. Read. I watch enough TV to talk to people. I follow football for social context.

Part of the reason for this seemingly settled life is family, but part of it is the slow erosion of my ambition for the city. There comes a moment when you start to care more about the seasons than the latest buzz in politics or entertainment. Ice-out is like fashion week. Buds on the branches become the biggest music festival of the year. It’s not different than people in the city. They care about many small things, too. It’s just that there are more people there, so the things seem bigger.

This is the part of Minnesota you won’t hear much about on the Super Bowl broadcast this weekend. This is where the wind blows through the empty trees. Where the forest stands ready to wake up for spring. It’s cold, but not as cold as it was. We know what that means.

Yes, soon the birds. Soon the rain. Soon the color.

You won’t want to miss it.

We bought a couple pizzas for the big game. My wife got the second-to-last supreme pizza at the store. So we’re set.


  1. David Sturrock says

    Similar here in SW Minnesota, apart from the trees.

  2. Very disappointing article. You really should have told us what brand of pizza you’re getting.


  3. Brings back fond memories of the distinct four seasons in rural, very small town Minnesota.

  4. I’ve been following Minnesota Brown for quite a while and I think I like this post the best of any you’ve written.
    I agree completely even though I’m only 100 miles North of the bowl.

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