by Katie Drake

Yesterday was Friday. Faced with some major life decisions and in need of reflection, I decided on a whim to put everything aside and to take myself for an early morning walk down by the canal.

It was perfect and serene, just what I needed. With rain showers in the forecast and dark clouds on the horizon, there was no one else on the path but me. Wispy waves of fog were rising off the water. And the remnants of snow along the banks provided a stark contrast to the sounds of cheery birds who seemed to have a lot to say.

As I approached the cliffs at Moss Island, I saw a huge bird perched on the edge of the rocks. Since the top of those big dark rocks is always a great thinking spot, I thought maybe that big old bird has the right idea. Even though it was a damp and wet day, I decided to walk up on Moss Island to do just that. Scooch over turkey vulture (or whatever the hell kind of bird you are) there’s room for both of us in this crazy world.

On the tallest cliff, a safe distance from the edge, I sat cross-legged and closed my eyes, and just listened to the sounds of nature for a few minutes.

Reflecting on the past year, and how hard it was for all of us, hit me like a ton of bricks. I put my head in my hands and cried awhile, thinking about how awful it was and still sometimes is.

After I was all out of tears, I raised my head. And thought, you know what Katie – you made it. It’s been one year since the world as we knew it came to a halt. Although it’s not over yet, you, me – we made it through. We should all give ourselves some credit just for surviving.

Then, like a sign from above, the dark clouds on that damp morning parted, and bright rays of sun illuminated the landscape in front of me. And I thought, it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. All though it’s not over yet, we didn’t just survive awful circumstances, in some ways we thrived.

We, as individuals, and as a community, are stronger. While we have certainly all had, and still have our struggles, we found new ways of doing things.

Photo by Katie Drake.

We learned to embrace the unknown. We learned to connect in different ways. We found new hobbies or picked up the old ones we lost time for. We found strength we didn’t know we had.

We embraced technology to “see” our families and friends. We learned to work in new ways, and Zoom became a household name. We learned that healthcare can work differently. Kids, teachers, and parents found new ways to teach, and new ways to learn. We learned what it feels like to be at the end of your rope, and climb back up top.

We learned to cook at home more and really appreciate local restaurant takeout. We learned to help the people of our community in different ways. We all became a little more independent at the same time becoming more dependent on each other.

We learned that working out doesn’t only have to happen at a gym. We found new ways to take care of those around us. We learned how to support small businesses in new ways.

We learned how to stay in our houses for long periods of time. We created remote workspaces at our dining room tables or living rooms or bedrooms. We learned to truly appreciate in-person conversations. We learned the value of headphones.

We got creative with new indoor and outdoor activities for kids. We learned to appreciate going for a drive with no destination.

We learned how to appreciate anything else living in your house, and that they can also drive you to drink. We found out what our pets do all day while we’re working. We learned that we can do more, with less.

These are just a few things. Even though it’s not over – You did it. We did it. Together and apart, we made it through the past year.

With some newfound hope and inspiration, I stood up to stretch my legs and decided it was time to start walking back. As I made it back to the canal trail, I thought about how much I appreciate the rare opportunity to have this time to reflect on a morning like this.

Just when it all seems to make sense and you think you have it all figured out…

At that moment, the skies opened up and the scattered raindrops suddenly turned into a downpour. I thought about the irony. Does that not describe the last year? Moments of despair and moments of hope.

Oh, and the F word. The F word is most certainly a great adjective to describe most of last year. So, I decided to embrace this rain (mostly because there was really no other alternative when I was still a half-mile from my car).

Not sure why… but my life is always filled with songs in my head and just then the lyrics from Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking in Memphis’ entered my head: “Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane. Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues in the middle of the pouring rain… Do I really feel the way I feel?”

Moral of the story: Regardless of how you feel, give yourself some credit. You’re stronger than before. Be kind to yourself, you made it.

Katie Drake moved to Little Falls in 2003 and fell in love with this city. She says she isn’t really a writer, but a storyteller.

The opportunity to highlight the great people of Little Falls, share her personal perspectives and some humor from time to time piqued her interest and here we are.

Just ask her, and she’ll tell you that after growing up in Millers Mills, population 25+ (according to the sign), Little Falls was just the right size. Katie is the oldest of her two brothers and five sisters.

In 2020 Katie and her best friend Chris began their greatest adventure yet in 2020, with the birth of their sweet and sassy son Nolan who makes them laugh every day.

In her free time, Katie loves to snowmobile, golf, hike, and travel.

If you have feedback on one of her articles or an idea for a story, please feel free to reach out to Katie at, she would love to hear from you.

If this article leaves you wanting more, or you are just bored out of your mind, feel free to check out other articles she has contributed by visiting Katie Drake Archives – My Little Falls.