An Ode to the City We Call Home

June 20, 2018

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
By: William Wordsworth

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by 
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, 
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Reading this poem in my British Literature class, I immediately felt drawn to it. Wordsworth, one of the Romantic poets of the time, is describing London in the morning when everything is quiet and still. The words he uses make the city seem open and vulnerable to both the human and natural world. Walking on the Stone Arch Bridge this weekend, with the beautiful sunshine on my skin and a breeze flowing off the river onto my face, I couldn’t help but share a similar love and awe for my city: Minneapolis.
Initially, when I arrived during Welcome Week freshman year, I was overwhelmed by this strange and foreign city. Coming from South Dakota, I’m used to familiar settings, routines, and people. A slow-paced lifestyle and being able to see for miles on end, the plains of my home state are both comforting and peaceful. Minneapolis and everything new that came with it- the sights, the sounds, the culture- was a bit terrifying at first. Its fast-paced lifestyle both intrigued and scared me. It definitely took some acclimating to get used to, but I now fully appreciate and love this city we call home.

Some things I love: the way the river envelopes the city and blurs the line between urban and natural. The way the old mill ruins are stacked up along the banks of the Mississippi, the tall modern skyscrapers in the background. The way the city lights reflect perfectly on the river where the water is calm and still.

Now in my second to last semester here, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. To step out of your dorm, apartment, or house, look across the river and see a beautiful skyline, is a truly special moment. Whether the sun is rising, setting, or poised behind the clouds, the city remains waiting for you. I truly value the moments when the city seems still, much like Wordsworth describes in his poem. It’s in these moments that I appreciate what this city has offered me: opportunities, knowledge, and friendships. Being so close to the city gives me hope for the future and a new sense of purpose. I’m blessed to call Minneapolis home.

Minneapolis skyline at sunset