Off Like a Turd of Hurdles   2 comments


Poplar Bridge Apts., Bloomington, MN

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Monday morning, April 4 was our last at Poplar Bridge.

We met with our manager, Kathleen Harper to do the check-out inspection.  Lots of items on the checklist couldn’t be done anyway; it was still too cold outside to consider washing patio doors.  Plenty of others weren’t done; running low on time and energy, we surrendered to fatigue.  Until now we were low maintenance tenants; we felt guilty about the mess we left.

Few neighbors knew we were moving until North American’s crew began hauling stuff out.  Over the past few days, Paul and I said our goodbyes to several.  Retirees living at Poplar Bridge would miss Paul terribly.  He was the guy who always stopped to hold the heavy front door open as they struggled to push shopping carts or walkers through.  I did the same for them, but they knew Paul longer, by reputation if not by name.  He was the aged hippie with manners who spoiled them rotten.

Secrets don’t remain secrets for long at Poplar Bridge.  By now most of our longtime neighbors knew we were leaving.  Seeing them for the last time as we carried Des and Carter to the car was sad.

We couldn’t really linger; we hoped to make it to either Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN or Bismarck, ND before dusk and we were exhausted.  Road trips for us are never a straight shot.  Paul has an arthritic knee requiring a short walk every 2 – 3 hours.  Having Des and Carter with us promised to slow down the drive even more for food, water and exercise breaks.

I knew I would miss the human residents of Poplar Bridge, but also, I’d miss the “neighbors” living in the wooded hillside behind our unit:  the various cardinals, jays, trees, squirrels, rabbits, deer, foxes, the occasional woodpeckers, wild turkeys and red-tailed hawks and even the odd coyote. Most of all, we would miss the quiet and serenity of the place.

As we left Poplar Bridge that morning, I noticed plentiful “bud action” on the property’s many trees.  Spring would happen soon.  We would miss it too.

Poplar Bridge was one of the best places in the Twin Cities to experience the first real day of spring – the day when leaves begin popping their buds.  Early in the morning, a green sheen appears on the branches of trees along the back hillside.  As the day wears on, leaves gradually appear on nearly every tree, becoming noticeably larger by the hour.   Our location in the back of the complex guaranteed us no traffic noise, only the sounds of nature.  We could almost hear those leaves growing.

As we drove out of the complex, I thought back to only a year before when Poplar Bridge had its most glorious spring ever.  Unlike the others, the white, pink and red flowering crab trees came into bloom all at once – a truly spectacular sight.

No more springs at Poplar Bridge.

Off like a turd of hurdles!

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2 responses to “Off Like a Turd of Hurdles

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  1. So sad. Beautiful photos.

  2. When plans to build the first stage of Poplar Bridge were announced in the 80s, residents of the mid-rise condo complex next door had a fit. They heard apartments were going up. What sprang to their minds were images of the typical apartment complex cluster.

    After seeing the building plan complete with proposals for expansive landscaping, their opposition vanished.

    When built, Poplar Bridge was a high-end luxury complex. Other developments around the Twin Cities (primarily urban loft-style projects) since eclipsed its price point and amenities. Overall, the complex is very well maintained. Its landscaping is kept immaculate.

    Poplar Bridge consists of two linear buildings with underground garages connected by a third building housing shared recreational facilities and a “social room” available for rent by tenants in the middle. A small outdoor off the pool, equipped with patio furniture and a grill is available for residents’ use. A much larger public patio fully stocked with patio furniture and a bevy of gas grills sits off the social room behind the buildings. It is wildly popular with residents for barbecues and small gatherings during warm months. The three buildings and their parking lots are set back far from the street elevated above street level and screened by trees. From the road, the front parking lot of the north building isn’t obvious to passers-by. Thanks to its linear design, not one unit at Poplar Bridge directly overlooks another apartment. Each has a screened porch or balcony.

    Residents living in the back overlook the wooded hillside (still in its natural state), separated from the building by a walking path. Many in front overlook the parking lot, though not entirely. Units across from our north building apartment had a great view of trees and a pond, visible from about half the units on the east side of the building. Those living on the far ends had views of more natural landscaping and tennis courts. The north tennis court was destroyed in a storm several years ago. It was replaced by lawn and trees. Because the complex is set so far back from the street, few tenants hear road noise.

    The deer photos were taken from our balcony. Every now and then, deer came off the hillside onto the lawn. Most didn’t stray from the hillside. The photos of the doe and spotted fawn were taken from our balcony directly in front of our 3rd floor unit. The flowering crab trees are planted in front of our former building.

    Poplar Bridge could be a tricky place to live on fall nights. County and state-owned land across the street remains undeveloped. Not far away are marshes and creeks preserved as parkland. We had to be on alert always for deer, particularly during the fall rutting season. We saw a few impressive bucks over the years that made most 8-point bucks look insignificant. I swear one was a twelver.

    Herds of deer, mostly does and youngsters, frequently roam the hillside during winters. I think the largest group we saw was about 15 individuals.

    The buildings of Poplar Bridge literally straddled two micro-climates. Yellow finches, swallows and eastern orioles were plentiful on the parking lot side, but never seen behind the complex. In role reversal, hawks and woodpeckers weren’t readily seen on the front side.

    Every now and then surprise wildlife sightings were to be had. We were once visited by a pileated woodpecker (looks like a red-headed woodpecker but is nearly twice the size) right across from our balcony. Pileated woodpeckers are a rare sight in that part of Minnesota. That was a treat.

    I still miss the people, the beauty and the quiet of Poplar Bridge.

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