Dreaming of the Lost City

by wjw on September 18, 2015

duluthSo why am I dreaming of the City by the Bay?  Which is to say, Duluth?

It’s been over a month since I returned from my childhood haunts in Minnesota.  When I was there, I found myself dealing with a tangible, material place, which however pleasant was substantially changed from the terrain where I grew up.  It was like visiting someplace new, with just enough of the old remaining to make it a little bit sad.  I could find my way around, but wherever I went, I found it strange or diminished.

When I left, I thought, “Well, I won’t have to come back here.”  I was decades older, the place has changed, I really didn’t have anything to do with it anymore.

But now, week later, I’m dreaming of Duluth every night.  (I don’t remember anything that happens in these dreams, only the location.)  When I close my eyes, images of Duluth form on the back of my eyelids.  Even some of the smells are coming back, very distinct.  I’m getting the impression I may have inadvertently left something behind.

So what’s my subconscious trying to tell me?  Possibly something very creative is in the works.

On the theory that maybe I have to go back to Minnesota to trigger a breakthrough, I checked into the cost of flying there, which turns out to be surprisingly expensive.  Yet I don’t want to drive again, I don’t want to be gone for that long.  If I went it would only be for a few days.

And what exactly would I do once I arrived?  Just walk around?  I’ve already done that.  I could eat walleyed pike and lake trout and very good steaks, but I’ve already done that, too.

Maybe I’ll just sit back and stay lost in dreams for a while.  You never know, something might happen.

Kristin September 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

What one could do on a return trip:
Walk the Lakewalk again. Just because it’s so cool and a ship might come in.
Rent a paddle board down on Park Point
Tour Glensheen
Tour Richard I. Bong Veteran’s Museum
Take a Harbor Cruise
Charter a fishing boat
Karpeles Manuscript Museum
Tweed Museum
Hike Spirit Mtn
Hike Lester/Amnity Creek
Hike the Superior Hiking Trail (from Jay Cooke St. Park to Canadian border if really ambitious)
Stroll the Munger Trail by Jay Cooke State Park
Jay Cooke State Park
Drive Skyline Parkway
Come back for the Tall Ship Festival
Drive over to Bayfield and to a sail boat tour of the Apostle Islands
Drive over to Bayfield and take the ferry to Madeline Island
Check out Enger Tower and park
Sample more local brews, including: Bent Paddle, Canal Park Brewery, Lake Superior Brews, Fitgers Brewhouse, Castle Danger, Dubrew,
South Shore Brewery in Ashland
Thirsty Pagan in Superior (awesome Pizza)
Dublins Pub
Stay at the Historic Fitgers Inn with a balcony view of the lake
Ride the Scenic Railroad to Two Harbors
Drive up to Lutsen and ride the Gondola and hike the trails
and eat at many of the very fine local places such as Sara’s Table, Duluth Grill, Fitgers Brewhouse, New Scenic Cafe, Rustic Inn, Buffalo House, London Road Cafe, Dublin’s Pub, Canal Park Brewery, Bellisios, Northern Waters Smokehouse, VaBene, Valentini’s, Thirsty Pagan, Tavern on the Hill…

And those are just some of the summertime activities.

Meanwhile, I dream of winters that don’t involve 30* below zero temperatures and four plus feet of snow.

Shash September 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

Duluth has changed drastically, but I do view that as a good thing. The town was a wreck in the 80s with derelict factory buildings and empty warehouses down by the harbor. Now people are employed (albeit in the tourist industry), local food is celebrated, and many of the derelict buildings have been replaced or repaired and are operating again.

I think most of us know what you mean about the loss of your youthful landscape. It’s not all progress.

wjw September 21, 2015 at 11:36 pm

I visited Duluth in the early 90s, and saw Boy Scouts going door-to-door to collect cans of food for the unemployed, so I’d have to say there was no way to go from there but up.

Duluth is a very nice town in a beautiful setting, but it didn’t seem to have a lot to do with me any longer. Except now I can’t stop thinking about it, which I can’t figure.

Dave Bishop September 24, 2015 at 3:19 am

Walter, I have exactly the same feelings about my home town of Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, UK, which I left 43 years ago. I can still walk down every street in my imagination (at least, every street as it was 43 years ago). I haven’t been back recently because, as a result of a medical condition, I don’t drive any more and getting there, from where I currently live (Manchester UK), by train is tedious. Mere nostalgia doesn’t seem a good enough reason to make the effort – but I’ve got to go back and walk at least some those streets at some point.

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