I'm not wearing a bonnet (yet) and neither of my dogs' names are Bandit (yet), but I'm making the move to life in North Dakota in a little house between a prairie and a farm field.
People think of NoDak as one vast, unending prairie. While that stretch on 29 between Fargo and Grand Forks seems that way, the northern part of the state is very pretty. There are rolling hills, lakes stocked with healthy fish, trees that are more than windbreaks, wide open skies, and good roads. People are friendly and kind, too.
And multitudinous new experiences await me. For example, just this morning I put some mail out for the mailman to pick up, and I raised the little red arm on the mailbox to alert him. I've never done that before. Drink coffee in the morning in my pajamas on the back porch and watch the swallows swerve around the yard. Listen to the wind blowing through the trees, the silence occasionally interrupted by a train whistle and the intermittent squawk of a hungry female owl letting her big hunter know that she's hungry (they do that when they're nesting or have a owlet to look after). Walk the dogs down dusty country roads and struggle to keep the golden retriever out of sloughs where ducks are swimming. It's peaceful and calming.
And I write. So far, a lot of it's in my head and heart and wherever else inspiration awaits incarnation. I imagine what form my life here will take, and if that form is a something with which I can live. I pray for the happiness and safety of my family, friends, and former students back in the Cities and around the world.
For all the idyllic details, there are inconveniences. No trash service, so you have to burn it, bring it to the dump, or haul it to work and surreptitiously slip it in the company dumpster. No well nor a connection to a water main, so we fill the large basement cistern from the water tower. Cheapest groceries are at least 1.5 hours away (Walmart in Minot). In other words, there is a certain mindfulness required to live here...and this is actually kinda cool. You have to ask yourself how much you really need certain things.
I'm happy here, though I miss some people in the Cities. I will see them soon, and I'm only a phone call, text, post, tweet, Skype session, road trip, train or plane ride away. Laura Ingalls didn't have that convenience or connectivity. We live in an age in which physical distance does not end relationships unless we choose to let it. I choose to stay in touch with those who are a part of my life, and I hope others choose to reciprocate.