The Mississippi River, it's name conjures up images of a broad waterway, lazily making it's easy way down the center of the North American continent before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at the fabled city of New Orleans. I had seen it's end on a trip to New Orleans a number of years ago. The middle part of it's journey I have viewed from several different vantage points, St. Louis, Eagle point in Dubuque, and, closer to home, Starved Rock State Park. On this trip, far north in Minnesota, I had the opportunity to see it's headwaters. To visit the spot where the legendary liquid behemoth begins.
Water trickles over a line of rocks along the shore of one of Minnesota's ubiquitous lakes. There is one mile of water for every 15 miles of dry land in the state. The water forms a small ankle deep pool before flowing, between banks of tangled grass, towards it's destination a continent away.
It is not a place conducive to contemplation. The hordes of people present make quiet thought difficult. It is actually, from a scenic point of view, rather underwhelming. It is the idea of what this small, shallow, unassuming stream becomes that it the magic of the place.