Slowing to meet The Flow

When someone else is the catalyst for your insight

Elote for two!

Going to the Great Minnesota Get Together is a yearly pilgrimage of mine. My older brother (one of three), plus my cousin and her husband meet in late August each year. This makes a perfect foursome. It’s the Minnesota State Fair. This is one of the largest fairs in the country along with Texas and Iowa. In rainy weather, you would think it would dampen enthusiasm and attendance. Nope. Minnesotan’s know how to dress, and relish the changes in weather. Never are moods dampened by such a small thing as rain! oh no. I’m proud to be from that area of the country. I hail from Wisconsin but lived in Minnesota for awhile before coming to New Mexico by way of NYC. During my 2018 visit on the last Saturday of the fair there was a record-setting 270,426 people in attendance. This post is about an insight I had that day.

We had been at the fair for two long days already. Our third day would be sans cousin and hubby, so my brother and I could go at our own pace. This was a bit of insanity on our part. We never go on a weekend because of the huge numbers of people. On a normal weekday it’s hard enough getting somewhere and lines are long. It was a hot day, and we were absolutely pooped from the prior two days of total gluttony.

Let me explain the normal itinerary. We get up at 6am, shower, eat a light breakfast, drink a bit of coffee and prepare for the day. We drive to where the busses take us to the fair. It’s a long process. We wait in line for a long time, then get on the bus and are on our way. It’s 9 or 10am by the time we get to the fair to partake. We leave the fair around dusk, which in summer, is very late. We take the bus, then the car, then we are home finally. Pooped and, as we say in our family, ‘fat as bloated ticks.’ It’s a very long, long day of walking. We figured we walk about 7 miles a day.

One of our first stops is the Blue Barn for breakfast. The MSF boasts thousands of types of food, way beyond the ordinary, with 30 or 40 new foods each year. The Blue Barn has breakfast such as Swedish Meatball Smörgås: Meatball sandwich with three traditional Swedish pork and beef meatballs topped with white gravy, lingonberry sauce and dill pickles. Or you could get their new bacon stuffed tater tots. My brother goes next door to Lulu’s to get his dry cider. Or we each get Bloody Mary’s to start the day off right. For me this is a treat because the rest of the year I don’t drink alcohol. 

The rest of each day is spent going to various places like the Blue Moon Dine-in for Korean-style BBQ tacos, and smoked soft-serve ice cream. Or a lobster po’boy at Caribe cafe, or my favorite, Irish Tater Kegs: Jumbo deep-fried tater tots made with a blend of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, sour cream and potatoes drizzled with house-made Thousand Island dressing nestled on a bed of sauerkraut served at the Irish pub O’Garas complete with live bagpipe music. Nordic Waffles, a brand new place, had a line so long both days we never got to try the folded breakfast waffle with smoked salmon tucked inside. The wood grilled elote (corn on the cob with small delicate kernels, very sweet) brushed with chile-spice mayo and sprinkled with queso Cotija, fresh lime juice and cilantro, oh my! It was so good we had two.

Kids Scarecrow entries.

The buildings with art, quilts, foods that are judged such as cakes, jams, jellies, cookies, you name it, it is baked, presented and judged. There are parades, live shows, shopping, the midway to watch all the crazy people on crazy rides. We love mostly the animal barns with sheep, horses, piggies, and the 4-team horse drawn carriage competition. Kids make seed art and scarecrows displayed by ages old seed and flour sacks and hundreds of (judged) dried ears of corn. We saw a 674 lb. pumpkin, and a lovely display of Bonsai forests and trees. There are butter sculptures of Princess Kay of the Milky Way in a window-sided refrigerator case so large it could fit 20 people. It’s almost too much to take in. Suffice it to say we are on overload after two days, tired, and maxed out. Now maybe you understand the scope of this event, and how you could be so overwhelmed by it.

On the third day, my brother was trying to wind his way through the record-breaking crowd. He was going way too fast for my comfort, and he was really fighting the crowd. I could see he had unrealistic expectations for 270,000 people to slow down for him and it was only making him irritated. Besides he was not having fun struggling to squeeze past people being jostled and pushed all the while. It couldn’t have been much fun. And what was the rush? This was our third day at the fair, a total luxury. Time was on our side. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, “Hey do you mind slowing down? I can’t go that fast.” He instantly said, “Oh, I’m sorry! Yeah, no problem.” His tone of voice was compassionate and kind and he had no problem slowing down. 

There was instantly this luxurious flow of people’s heads bobbing up and down as we all walked forward. It did not seem rushed, crushed, or the least bit claustrophobic. There was an unmistakable fluidity to the flow of humanity. I noticed children enjoying cotton candy, balloons, eating hot dogs, slurping on drinks, someone stopping to tie their shoe, kids asking their parents questions, older couples in summer attire holding hands and enjoying the day. It was all rather languid and relaxed. We had found The Flow! This is going with the flow, in more than just a physical sense. 

I love getting real world examples of metaphorical ideas or sayings. This was a perfect example of the sayings ‘don’t push the river’ and ‘go with the flow’. But what a revelation it was to have someone else be the catalyst for my seeing it happen! Asking my brother to slow down and finally seeing how things went from irritating and frustrating to happily bobbing along. What an insight! This experience has stayed with me and will be a good teacher for me for many years. I can still feel that happy elation to finally be in flow with all around me. 

Do you have any example of when things become clear to you? I’d love to hear about them. My Minnesota State Fair Album(s) can be found here.

Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening.Love and Light, Patty.

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