Columbine

North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota.

I can imagine growing up here was much like growing up next to the creek and arboretum, only bigger and better. Real rivers, real woods, real waterfalls. We meandered up another creekbed (which inevitably led to me slipping on a rock and falling into a split) to a waterfall. Its cliffs were tempting, but after a couple of vertical feet I decided I did not want to slide down wet granite. Bummer. Ian showed me columbine: a small reddish flower that looks kind of like a crown and hangs like a bluebell. It grows in the woods and on cliffsides, and you bite off the back and suck out the nectar, like honeysuckle.

We swam in infinitely deep swimming holes in glacial rivers, climbed up the granite cliff sides (smoother than anything on the East Coast, granite-wise) and fell backwards into the water. We jumped off rocks and plunged into the rapid river, pulled along towards the next mini-waterfall, swimming against the current to lather, rinse, repeat.

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