The Secrets of North Dakota

sunflowersFor the last few days, I’ve felt like North Dakota…a never ending, unimaginably boring, flat, hot landscape.  Driving home from Bozeman, I couldn’t wait to get through it.  The reason I feel like North Dakota, is that this space I’m in, i.e. leaving my kid over 1000 miles away, is something I want to get through as quickly as possible…at break-neck speed.  I was surprised by my reaction, watching my 18 year-old impatiently hug me and jump on his bike to ride back to campus to start living his life.  The operative word being “his” life.  He’s really not mine anymore.  And beyond the feeling that I was having a heart attack, right there in that moment, I was afraid that I hadn’t completed my job, that maybe I hadn’t done all that I could do.  Mind you, I know he’s a great kid, but there is that irrational bit that irritated me all through North Dakota.  I just wanted to be done, to feel the ties severed.  Of course, the rational side of me chastised the irrational side for even entertaining that notion, he will forever be my son.

highway artFeeling crappy, I came home to an air-conditioner that didn’t work in a raging heat wave, a washing machine that didn’t work and a mess at my clinic because certain directions weren’t followed and that is all I will say about that, except that I was reminded of a particular point on my drive when I was ready to jump out of my seat from boredom.  Just when I couldn’t stand it anymore, these beautiful sunflower fields popped up.  It was a burst of color that the car-photo doesn’t do justice to.  Then, there was this beautiful sculpture alongside the road that made me smile…who’d have thunk it in North Dakota?  The secret?  Even the flattest, hardest times do contain little moments that get you through the struggle.  It turns out that North Dakota isn’t all bad, so I’m challenged to find the beauty in my own private North Dakota these next few weeks.

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