As the first real snow in Brookings SD is falling, I should be reading and annotating, working on my powerpoint, or my chapter two outline. I am in pretty good shape but I still have a lot to do. Nevertheless, I have so many ideas floating around in this head of mine and the itch to write. And I don’t have the itch to write the boring dissertation stuff. I could probably write ten blogs about different themes and still find something else that is on my mind. My brain is like that. It seems to never stop. I sometimes wonder if that is a diagnosable mental disorder… My brain is fertile, too fertile sometimes.
South Dakota friends… and others, You will be happy to know that I get it… at least I think I do. I get a few things finally. I was peddling away on my exercise bike listening to praise music, jammin’ with Jesus, sweatin’ and looking at the snow fall. I thought Okay, I think I get it. If I grew up here, not only would this be home to me, but I’d have lived my life with fairly harsh conditions. I’d be a product of my environment. Now before you react and say “Oh there she goes again!” Listen to what I’m trying to say. I think about how this time in South Dakota has affected me. It hasn’t been pleasant. Largely it’s been a shock to everything about my life. For me the changes were rapid and harsh. But like the wind, rain and snow that slowly erodes and changes the land, so the weather erodes the spirit. I was thinking this a.m. “How would I be if this was where I grew up?” I’d probably have never learned that it is polite to say excuse me when you run people over with your cart at Wal-Mart. I’d probably smile less. I’d probably never say “God bless you” when someone sneezes. These things are important to me. But they aren’t to others. It doesn’t really make them rude. It just makes them different. On the other hand, I’d probably value hard work over sentimentality. I’d probably be less relational and more self-reliant. I’d probably enjoy the wide open spaces..
You’ll be happy to know I finally have figured out why 4-H achievement days are important. I have figured out why livestock takes priority over people. I don’t like the fact that the roads won’t be cleaned in a timely manner, but I still get why it’s not a big deal here. Yesterday I was in Sioux Falls and shocked to see that the 1” of snow they had on Monday was still covering some side streets. I thought WHAT???? I shouldn’t be slipping on snow after 3 days… but I also get why it’s not important or a big deal. It’s just how people live here.
I’ve stopped fighting with South Dakota. It was a battle I could never win anyway. Someone asked me yesterday if when I leave here I’ll miss South Dakota. I thought for a moment. The expected answer is Heck, NO!!! I am sure that is the answer some of you expect too – you figure this woman is going to party and shout when she leaves here. She’ll be screaming hallelujah as she crosses the border for the last time. And while I probably will be happy when I leave, I will miss South Dakota. Oh I won’t miss snow and rude people, but I will miss many things about South Dakota when the time comes to finally leave. South Dakota has changed me. It’s harsh realities have actually made me a better person. For that I am thankful.
Okay, time to work on the important stuff like school...