Nature-lover's book asks us to 'slow down'

You're going to have to get up pretty early in the morning to keep up with Larry Nielson.

"I've always been an early riser," Nielson said. "What I like the best about the early morning is when the sun rises, it's all about the promise and opportunity of another day."

Luckily for us, Nielson, who lives between Lake City and Wabasha, usually has his camera handy when he's out and about — early morning, mid-day or the evening. The results have found their way into a new book, " Pursuing Awe ," that Nielson has published. He describes himself as a "hobbyist photographer."

The book includes 120 of Nielson's photographs of life along his stretch of the Mississippi River. Eagles, deer, gulls, hummingbirds, flowers and trees are just part of what Nielson finds fascinating about each new day. Also in the book are vignettes and background on Lake Pepin.

Nielson, a Rochester native who was an all-conference guard on John Marshall High School's 1974 state championship football team, is a real estate broker and owner/captain of the Pearl of the Lake paddlewheeler on Lake Pepin.


"I enjoy being out there on the river and sharing what I see with people," said Nielson, who, of course, always takes his camera along on the boat.

"Pursuing Awe" is in part intended to promote the river valley and all the things to do there, Nielson said. But he also has a broader purpose in mind.

"A few years ago, I made a conscious effort to get up every day and find something positive and cool in the nature around here," he said. "It's almost a movement, to say the whole world isn't as bad as the news media can make it seem. We don't need to be arguing about everything all the time."

Instead, he said, everyone can find common ground, and perhaps sanity, in the beauty and solemnity of nature.

And that includes in the dead of winter. "I enjoy being out in winter at least as much," Nielson said. "There are still some pretty cool things to see and do. There are a lot of things happening."

In any season, Nielson said he hopes his book serves as an inspiration. "I want to get people to slow down a minute and take a look around and appreciate what's there," he said.

"Pursuing Awe" is available through Amazon , and at Treats and Treasures in Lake City.

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