I was speaking with my brother about the town in which we grew up, Northfield, Minnesota. He had the wistful tone that no longer was the Northfield of our youth still the same.
That got me going on what was the essential quality of that place. Of course, I turned to the internet, which was no help at all.
“Northfield is a city in Dakota and Rice counties in the State of Minnesota. It is mostly in Rice County, with a small portion in Dakota County. The population was 20,007 at the 2010 census.”
I suppose that says it all.
My memories of Northfield are tied to the emotional state and level of development I was at when I experienced them. I stopped living there when I was a late teenager and generally have not been too nostalgic.
The main complaint from my brother is that many in the town commute to work in other places rather than being employed locally, giving short shrift to the social fabric of the town. As a teenager, I wasn’t so invested in the social fabric of anything other than what I might be doing that night or weekend. What others might be doing was also lost on me.
Rising above all this philosophy, I can say the core experiences of Northfield are tied to the landscape, the Cannon River, the blue light of winter on frozen fields. Everything else is commentary. I value community and human connection and believe that such can be found in Northfield today as well as other places.