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Ask and you shall receive, eh? I have been sleeping, eating, dancing and painting in my grandma’s basement for a little longer than a week. I needed to get out of the house, the neighborhood. I needed to be around a little diversity, something new and fresh. I needed to go out.

My grandma took a trip with my aunts up north leaving her car keys in my possession and $20 for food with a sweet note. I grabbed them all and drove over to my sister’s house for the day. She and her husband bought an old house in a neighborhood close to downtown Minneapolis a year ago. They work in politics and Mark works for Tom Hoch who is running as the Mayor of Minneapolis. ┬áSaturday they hosted a meet and greet for the neighborhood. I picked my sister up a little after 9am and we stopped by the co-op for last minute supplies, donuts and coffee.

At the house, I helped set up and watched the unfolding.. Tom spoke with a number of business owners, family men and a variety of constituents and answered questions. Afterward the staffers sat around shop talking while Mark finished roasting his Pork Butt and Lauren prepared the rest of the feast. It was refreshing to compare stories, vibrantly passing jokes and eating delicious food. Many of the staffers are from around the country, many just moved for the campaign and plan to move on, reveling in a greater picture that is happening around the globe.

At one point, I stepped out for a magical spliff that had appeared and as I sat there pondering, I realized music was coming from the house across the way. I slowly meandered to the corner, then across the street where it became apparent the music was further away, so I walked another block where a road closed sign was accompanied by children playing, lights twinkling around a porch and a band perched strumming and crooning. I rushed back to my sister’s house and gushed about what I had witnessed. They laughed and explained that it is Porchfest, a few blocks closed with staggering stages, each decorated and lit up with styles of music unique to their yard. A food truck or setup was nearby with neighbors providing chairs, dancing and conversation. A breakdancing group had taken over an intersection with the word DANCE graffiti-ed to a board.

Here I was, Minnesota native, MarsVistian standing in the heart of the MinneApple and I was witness to the beat. A woman lit up in multi lights on a porch with yard signs declaring BLACK LIVES MATTER and ALL ARE WELCOME mixed her own beats as she spoke words from her heart. I was struck in place and couldn’t resist getting closer, not wanting to miss a syllable. She asked for others to come up, to protest with her. I froze in place and my own words echoed within my head. Soon enough another song began to play and the brilliance in the words caused me to join my voice, cheering and protesting hate, encouraging love. Her set came to a close and after running up to thrust a few strawberry propaganda stickers, I ventured on to the last set, a huge crowd had gathered and dancing filled the street. I stood to the side bobbing my head until a neighbor danced over to press my shoulder and wind up my back. An older gentleman spoke, he said, “Is that the start button?” I laughed and a girl next to me nodded as I began to dance, joining their circle. It was exactly what I needed and I stretched my heart out, glad of the room to groove.

Afterward I walked back over to my sister’s where the staffers were still hanging out, another had joined and a couple had left. I couldn’t sit still after what I had experienced and so I ventured inside to wash dishes and continued with my movement. Even after everyone else went to bed, I stayed up and sketched a mural idea and basked in fresh inspirations that the pride of my hometown is a hub of creative evolution, bursting with love.

The next morning I woke and grabbed a cup of coffee and left-over sprinkled donut, heading out to the suburbs to attend my dad’s church. It’s always a bit jarring to walk through the doors, out of all the churches my dad has preached, I’ve spent the least amount of time there. Its the church where I graduated high school and got married, though I never lived in it the same way as when I was a child. My father told a story, drawing an example of unconditional love through a story about a car. It brushed quite close to home as I’ve been grieving my own car issues and the struggle I had in repairing that adventure. As the service came to a close, I wrote my own StrawberryPropaganda love note to my dad, thanking him for words of wisdom and strength of character which I hope I can echo in my own life.

Late afternoon, I arrived back in my grandparents basement. It’s a bit eerie being in someone else’s home when they are not around and my grandfather’s presence hung in the air. I ventured over to his desk where I surveyed the memorial. His pastoral record sat along with papers, his Bible sat on top of the Book of Mormons, an irony I couldn’t help laugh about. True to character, he summarized the Bible down to 70 verses which he memorized. I read through each one in order, I guess to understand the teacher, the one from whom has stemmed my own book, where the creation started. As pages flew by, one word was underlined over and over, one only one pointed out in pencil, where the rest was highlighted. That word was Love. And he conjugated it in greek as well, one word in greek that pinpoints the type of love, which actually refers to beauty. The kind of beauty that is recognized in each living individual on an equal plane. We are all the same, which is how we recognize the beauty that is within us all.

MinneApple, I love you. It’s good to be home.

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