Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

My planned post for this week’s photo challenge has once again been tabled.  While spending a couple of nights in St. Paul, Minnesota for work, I was reminded that an escape may consist of a small oasis of downtime.  True solitude was not possible, but some quality “me” time for a few hours in the evening, walking in one of my favorite neighborhoods, and later enjoying dinner with a timeless book in hand was escape enough . . .  and it certainly didn’t hurt that my base for the evening was the St. Paul Hotel, across from Rice Park in downtown St. Paul.

F. Scott Fitzgerald keeping watch over Rice Park in St. Paul
F. Scott Fitzgerald keeping watch over Rice Park in St. Paul

For over 100 years, the St. Paul Hotel has been a fixture in downtown St. Paul.  Classic and elegant, it is an urban escape.

The St. Paul Hotel ~ St. Paul, Minnesota
The St. Paul Hotel ~ St. Paul, Minnesota

The front desk clerk checked me in to a lovely room on the top floor, which provided a view of the Mississippi River and the slowly-emerging Minnesota spring landscape.

View of the Mississippi River from the St. Paul Hotel

The view from my room also included the Cathedral of Saint Paul, perched on the hill in the distance.

View of the Cathedral of Saint Paul from The Saint Paul Hotel

After a long day of sitting in seminars, the Cathedral beckoned, inviting me to walk up the hill and enjoy the break in the rain, stretching my legs, camera in hand.

Click on any photo to view photos full-size or as slideshow.

 

Continuing past the Cathedral, perched atop Summit Hill, I could appreciate the grandeur that already existed when the Cathedral was constructed at the turn of the Twentieth Century by walking past some of the majestic homes lining Summit Avenue.  I love old houses and history.  Walking along Summit Avenue for an hour provided an escape from the modern day.  The crabapple trees were in bloom, not yet at their peak, and lilacs had just begun to fill the air with their old-fashioned fragrance.

Wide sidewalks perfect for a stroll
Wide sidewalks perfect for a stroll
A statue ready to come to life
A statue ready to come to life
Victorian architectural details
Victorian architectural details
Ivy-entwined pillars
Ivy-entwined pillars
Brick porches invite you to sit awhile
Brick porches invite you to sit awhile

I did not begin to consider my evening walk in the context of this week’s photo challenge until after I returned to the hotel.  A good friend gave me a 50th anniversary edition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea, which I had not read in many years.  It is a quick read, but a reflective one, and I packed it with me, thinking it might be a nice companion to a quiet dinner.  I was in no hurry for my evening meal, and first decided to enjoy a drink  at the hotel bar.  The bartender mixed up a perfect Cosmopolitan cocktail, and I opened my book.

Cosmopolitan at the St. Paul Grill

The 50th anniversary edition of Lindbergh’s book includes an introduction written by her daughter, Reeve.  Reeve perfectly describes the timeless attraction of her mother’s writing, when she states:

At whatever point one opens Gift From the Sea,  to any chapter or page, the author’s words offer a chance to breathe and to live more slowly.  The book makes it possible to quiet down and rest in the present, no matter what the circumstances may be.  Just to read it — a little of it or in its entirety — is to exist for a while in a different and more peaceful tempo.

Cosmopolitan at the St. Paul Grill

Reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s gems of wisdom at the bar, and continuing to read through a late dinner, I read words that make clear why our escapes are necessary — whether near or far, brief or prolonged — they help us appreciate the beauty of the world and relationships around us, by creating space in our mind or space in our schedule to step back and ponder that beauty; beauty that otherwise so easily is lost in the noise of our everyday lives.

Roasted Beet Salad ~ St. Paul Grill
Roasted golden beets and mixed greens with a sweet onion vinaigrette and fried goat cheese, dried cranberries and hazelnuts.

“For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms.  Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant — and therefore beautiful.  A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky.  A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side.  A candle flowers in the space of night.  Even small and casual things take on significance if they are washed in space, like a few autumn grasses in one corner of an Oriental painting, the rest of the page bare.”

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, from A Gift From the Sea

 

Scallops at The Saint Paul Grill
Scallops over roasted root vegetables with celery root puree, olive oil poached garlic and balsamic glaze.

Regular escapes from our sometimes over-scheduled, multi-tasking lives are essential. An escape need not be complex; it may be as simple as going for a walk or a run and reminding oneself to be mindful of the details passing by, splurging on a favorite dish and slowly enjoying each choice bite, or hunkering down with a favorite book and feeling the world fade into the background as one is fully absorbed by each carefully selected word.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Escape” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

20 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

  1. reachingmyfullpotential

    Very timely, as I will be down that way this weekend for a conference! I absolutely love the St. Paul Cathedral…thanks for sharing the pictures, Kathy 🙂

    P.S. How do you get the copyright text on your images?

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      1. reachingmyfullpotential

        I’m hoping for nice weather so that I can get out and explore in between sessions 🙂

        Thanks for the tip, though I have a Mac…I’ll have to find the “Mac version”.

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  2. What a nice escape visiting your blog always is for me! Great shots and story. The only problem? My tummy is rumbling after looking at your photos of that delicious dinner!
    Thank you for the little vacation from a long day!
    P.S. I am also a fan of Gift From the Sea, but I’m sure that comes as no surprise! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, L ~ so I suppose posting a little photo essay of the dirty clothes left on the bathroom floor, cereal boxes left opened on the counter, and nice orchestra suit left laying on the entryway floor is not inspiring, eh? (so I tell my boys when I am faced with those scenes as I walk through the house to refill my cup of coffee while working at home!) 🙂 It was a delicious dinner, slowly enjoyed with Lindbergh’s wonderful words of reflection!

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      1. Haha! I dunno, your photo essay idea is a risky one. I would have seen it and thought that you had broken into my house to take photos!
        Glad you were able to have a well-deserved escape with a nice dinner and a good read!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your time in St. Paul with us. Sometimes we forget how wonderful our beautiful country, the United States of America truly is. I adore and dream when I see lovely photographs of Paris and Italy. It was really nice to be reminded through your post how beautiful our country is too.

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  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: My favorite Escape | Humbled Pie

  5. Kat, that cosmo looks soooooo good! And it’s been years since I read A Gift From the Sea – I think it’s time for a re-read, you reminded how inspiring it is. Thank you. Great post.

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  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape | Ryan Photography

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