Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars?

Nora Roberts
There is about a week at Carley State Park when the bluebells are exploding.
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are as delicate as crepe.

Three years ago, I was at one of the lowest moments of my life. Everything I’d believed in and counted on had been turned upside down and nothing made sense. At least it seemed that way. I was and still am lucky that Richard is in my life – my rock, my “smackles” – but even with his help, I had no clue who I was anymore, how I fit in or where I was headed.

I find it funny that it sometimes takes hitting rock bottom to show us just how fragile we are. I remember being so physically depressed, I could hardly move my body. Somehow, though, I managed to drive myself to a tiny state park nestled in a bend of the Whitewater River and part of the “driftless zone” of bluffs and towering white pines about an hour and half southeast of my home in Saint Paul, .

I drove there because someone mentioned that the bluebells were reaching their climax on Thursday. I had nothing going on that Thursday – or any day for that matter – so I decided to make a date with these ephemeral wildflowers.

That Thursday in early spring was one to remember. Carley State Park was blanketed in a sea of blue. So delicate and light were these flowers, it was as if I’d entered a holy shrine and dared not utter a word. Because my paralysis kept me from taking an ordinary hike through this magical performance, I spent the entire day moving like a Kabuki dancer in comically slow motion, leaning in to each bush for a better look, placing my body beneath trumpet-shaped flowers as delicate as crepe paper, examining the shriveled sacs of unopened buds in pink and purple, waiting patiently for a bumblebee to land just so.

In so doing, my handicap became my strength. Lethargy was just what was needed to not only observe and record the moment, but to become positively intoxicated by the beauty, whimsy and sheer joy in this astonishing moment.

As a celebration of spring, now that warm air has (finally) arrived in Minnesota, I again share with you this short film – Password: Bluebell. The “password” is one the Minnesota Hiking Club posts somewhere along the way of one of their 68 designated walks, a word a hiker can record in their diary to check this hike off their list. For me, the password took on magical proportions of a fairy tale, words that transform the heroine from victim to warrior.


  1. Micki Simms

    Transported visually and aurally. Anything to the Goldberg is bliss.
    Stunning photos beautifully segued. Thank you.

  2. What a feast for the senses….the bluebells have their ears open drinking the music, the bumble bee taking a break from her pollinating duties to listen too…you have transported us into nature at its best…

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