Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. First city on the Mississippi. Knowing that the place name originated from the Ojibwe language I decided to look up its meaning. Acording to http://anishinaabemodaa.com/lessons?lesson_id=93
The original Ojibwe place name was Baymigegummog. It means, “Lake which runs crosswise or diagonally in relation to a river.” That makes sense. The Mississippi enters Lake Bemidji in the southwest corner near downtown and exits on the east side further north. It is likely that you will see canoes and kayaks here. The Mississippi Water Trail is the thru-hike for water travel. Someday I hope to do a kayak trip. To me it seems that it would be all the fabulous outdoor scenery without the heavy lifting and foot blisters. I guess blisters on the hands might be inevitable, but that seems not as uncomfortable. Here is a link to more information about the Water Trail at the Minnesota State Park website.
Bemidji’s art community is thriving. Watermark Art Center has exhibits, classes, and a retail gallery. The Sculpture Walk features a variety of outdoor sculpture installations and is updated annually. This is its 20th year! It was chilly and windy on the day I was there so I was glad to walk among buildings that blocked the wind and I went into coffee shops to warm up. Most shops were closed on this late Saturday afternoon but that was fine. We window-shopped and enjoyed the art!
One does not write about sculpture in Bemidji without mentioning Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I thought I already had tons of pictures of them from previous trips, but alas, I have none. Each time I must have thought, “Not Paul Bunyan, the world does not need more pictures of Paul Bunyan.” He and his blue friend are characters of Northern Minnesota folklore and they are everywhere. I lifted this image from a tourism website, I hope they do not mind.
This was different from my usual hikes in that it was downtown instead of in the woods. It was still outside in the fresh air and the lake is never far away. I enjoy looking at sculpture and trying to figure out, “How did they do that?” Each one is unique in subject, material, and presentation. The engineering of the connections is interesting to me because it is like a puzzle. It has to withstand extreme weather and interaction with the public. Even though I have not developed those types of sculpture skills in myself, I can appreciate the time and creativity and scientific knowledge.
I’ll end with an important message for each artist and art organizer. Please let me know in the comments if my Ojibwe is incorrect. Gidapiitendaagoz (you are important) and gidapiitenimin (I value you)!
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