Friday, April 26, 2019

Biking & Birding Adventure

The week after Easter is a week of rest and relaxation; Jesus is risen, Pastors can sleep.

But my period of rest and relaxation, i.e. Lenten-Palm Sunday-Holy Week-Easter Recovery, was not to be.  Center Point Energy is installing new main gas lines in my neighborhood.  In addition to the flashing lights, beeping back up sounds, rumble of bulldozers and front end loaders it feels like someone wrapped the house in a large leather belt and hooked it up to one of those 1950s vibrating exercise machines.  Needless to say, I had to get out of the house.

The plan was to hop in the minivan and drive to Frontenac State Park to go birding, but the forecast of rain made that a no-go.  And then I thought of the lovely idea from the woman-who-goes-to-Ikea's-breakfast-buffet-every-Saturday once recommended: biking and birding.  I got onto ebird, found a hotspot I had never visited and had a most glorious day.

Bass Lake Ponds was my destination, a mere 30 minute bike ride from my house.  I have known about the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge but I thought it would be haunted by airplane noise, which kept me from ever going there.  Planes fly over my house all the time, my mental health needs some deep silence.

I got onto Bloomington Ave and headed south.  Eventually I came upon this Mega-Lo-Church on 86th St.  I wondered: it's on a bike path, does it have adequate bike parking.  Before moving case you do not believe me, look at the bike lane in the picture (which contains a real life bicyclist).  

Ok, we have established a church on a bike path with real bicyclists. 

Here is what i found:

12 bike parking places (2 per side).  At a church that has at least 500 car parking spots. 

(Did you ever notice how it's never car parking spots, its always just parking).   And this is just one side of the church! 

Judson Church, the fabulous church I serve has a grand total of 12 on street car parking spaces (we do not own these, they are public property - it is the number of spots on 41st and Harriet that are in front of the church).  We do have 8 bike parking spots. (But hold off on exploring our webpage, it is being redone and will be extremely minimal for a couple more weeks, instead just pedal over on a Sunday morning at 9:30, 4101 Harriet Ave in South Minneapolis).

If you are church seeking why not ask the church ahead of time this question: What is your bike parking to car parking ratio?  I think you'd find a lot about the congregation with just this simple question. 

I made it Bass Lake Ponds a few minutes later and had a wonderful time.  I still cant believe it was only 30 minutes away from the house. 

Birds galore.  Names? Well I can easily tell you there were Wood Ducks and Canadian Geese and a 1000 Redwing Black Birds and Mallards and Mergansers and a juvenile Bald Eagle and Swallows and Thrushes of various types and Brown-headed Cowbirds and Yellow-rumped Warblers and Sparrows of all kinds and Cardinals and so on.  I forgot my bird book, I was going on memory and the heads up by a "serious birder".

After my birding round I walked up a trail that followed a spring fed stream.  The verdant and fecund atmosphere coupled by the trickling and burbling waterfalls made it the most pleasant place to read from the Sermon on the Mount and to just be. 

Three hours in this lovely retreat and I was ready to notice what the world had for me.  Which is maybe why I noticed this mural exiting rather than entering. 

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