Searching . . .

The “vacation” part of my summer finally started this week when I visited Itasca State Park to take a nature photography workshop. This Minnesota State Park is known for beautiful Lake Itasca, scenic big pine forests, wildflowers, wildlife, canoeing, historic log cabins, numerous hiking and bike trails. When you imagine the “Minnesota Northwoods”, Itasca State Park is the picture you are seeing in your mind. This Minnesota State Park is even more important, however. This is where the mighty Mississippi River begins. Lake Itasca is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. And, the start of the river is gentle and narrow enough to walk across.

Explorers searched for the Mississippi headwaters for years and struggled through wild, rough terrain, tough weather conditions, many hardships, and many unknowns to find it.
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” ~ Galileo Galilei

The fact that these explorers searched, recorded their histories, and found what they were looking for makes it extremely easy for us to find it, too. It is no longer a struggle or even much of a search … Dense forests that were not even mapped at the time of discovery, now have tourist guides, paved roads, stairs, bridges, defined paths, and signs to guide the explorers of today. Modern bathroom facilities, electricity and even wi-fi. (click for larger images)

The afternoon turned rainy, so my exploration of the headwaters on the north end of the park was a bit diminished (and pictures rather dull, sorry). If you have never been there, there are two ways you can walk across the Mississippi. The adventurous people cross in the water on rocks (left picture) that can be rather slimy at times. Or, the wimps way, cross on a wooden log bridge that spans the river (right picture).

My trip with the morning photography safari and exploring the park later in the afternoon made me think about searching. The people before us who dared to search, question, explore and discover … gave us so many wonderful gifts, like Itasca State Park (with its modern conveniences).

Most of our life is spent in a search mode. Lately, I have been looking for my keys almost everyday (too much summer clothing without pockets) and that perfect pair of shoes for my picky feet ;-). However, those are only examples of the simple searches we face in life. More importantly, we search for our place in this big world, for jobs that make us happy and pay the bills. We search for answers to life’s bigger questions, friends, the best deal, happiness, comfort, love, the best burger, lost things, purpose, and the creamiest ice cream. Life itself is an exploration and discovery process … we are driven to search.

Knowing what we are searching for offers opportunities for research, looks at the past, and problem solving. The toughest search is when we are looking for something and we have no idea what it is we seek. Searching without a clear goal is like walking around in a dense fog until we find a clearing. But, we do it anyway .. we must .. that is how life works.

No matter what search journey you are on, know that you are growing and learning. That maybe some day, even if by accident, you will find what you are looking for or something you did not even know was missing. What you find on your life’s search may be something you can leave as a great gift to our future world. To search is to live.

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started… and know the place for the first time.” ~ T.S. Eliot

** Don’t forget about my “faces in nature” photo challenge … keep your eyes open, your imagination awake, and your camera handy … I anxiously await your finds.

~ by bearyweather on June 24, 2012.

7 Responses to “Searching . . .”

  1. Your posts are often so thoughtful. I really like how you tie together some of the deeper subjects, bearyweather. Know am thinking about searching. By the way, when is the ‘faces in nature’ photo challenge over? Just wanted to keep abreast of this search!

  2. We’re always learning and growing along the journey…even when we don’t realize it! Thanks for sharing your state park with us.

  3. Great post, Bearyweather! Itasca looks like a wonderful park!

    We don’t always know what we are searching for in life, which complicates the whole wonderful process 🙂

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