The first temperature I saw on my computer this morning was minus 13. It’s minus 13 here in Brookings. It has climbed to minus 11. The good news is there isn’t as much wind today. The better news is that the sun is out. Sunshine and light just make everything better. It’s so easy to let the negative overpower the positive. It is so easy to concentrate on these frigid temperatures, rather than the sun. I’ve been guilty of that with my assessments of the people of the Northern Plains.
Overall I’ve found the temperature of the people here pretty cold. There are times when to say they’re responses to me have left me as shivering as if I went outside today. I’ve always admitted I had a bad attitude when I first came here, but I did attempt to be friendly. My attitude was based on personal issues with the decision to come here, not the people. The attitudes about the people came from experience. Even my oft harangues about trips to the local Wal-Mart came after my excuse me and smiles were met with sour expressions and glares.
I’ve neglected to focus on the sun. There are people I have met here who are some of the nicest I’ve met anywhere. There are friends here who have so warmed my heart that I will cry when the day comes for me to leave this frigid wilderness. Parting will be different and sadder when I leave here. Everywhere else I’ve left, I always knew I’d go back to visit, or live. Not so here. When I leave I probably will never return. Shockingly, that makes me incredibly sad.
The sunbeams in this wilderness experience are relatively few. But their warmth and love is exceedingly wonderful. Perhaps you need the frigid to enjoy the warm just as you need sorrow and pain to full experience joy. I would attempt to name you, my sunbeams of warmth, but you know who you are. I hope you know how much your warmth means to me.
It sounds corny, but perhaps we should join in a chorus of:
Cornyness and over sentimentality aside, there are some of you who really have been sunshine for me. I may not hold you in my arms, but you will forever be in my heart.