Place Where You Live:

Eden Prairie, Minnesota

At a certain point along the clay path in Purgatory Creek Park in Eden Prairie, MN, I can stop and stare across the small lake past the Canadian geese and their goslings to the Southwest Station complex of restaurants, condos, the bus station and a five-level parking garage. The architecture of these buildings is characterized by light brown brickwork, beige stucco, and dark brown rounded roofs. Visitors dine outside at tables on the large community deck as fountains spray up water from the pond below. The streets and highway around the complex adds a hum of cars to the susurrus of soft waves along the water’s edge. Now, I close my eyes, turn around in the cool breeze and open them to see the sunlight cast over the expanse of tall grasses and reeds, see the trees that hide the white-tailed deer that bounds away when you spot it and the bald eagle in flight overhead. This is how Purgatory Creek may have looked 150 years ago. The land is marshy and wild, but the mosquitoes are no longer present in the hordes that earned the creek its name so long ago. In this place, organic decay mingles with vehicle exhaust, sharp corners of buildings contrast with slumped-over dried grasses of last year, and red-winged blackbirds exchange chirps with jingling dog collars. Here, I stand on the path of Purgatory.