North Dakota Roads Taken


Last weekend the roads were icy when we attempted the drive to my parents’ place. We made it up to Grand Forks, ND, about an hour north of Fargo where we currently live, and we had to turn around. We rescheduled for this weekend and the weather was better than perfect for this time of year. There was ice outside of the front door that my dad kept warning us about, but when we walked out Saturday morning, the sun had melted it all away.

This trip was much different than the other ones because of our upcoming move to San Diego. The prairie, the snow, the fields, the signs, the people—everything had home etched into it for me.  Some of these are part of me, and others I had forgotten. Some are now empty, but somehow they still felt full.

We drove through towns that I visited often throughout my childhood. There was Devils Lake where we used to camp, the Geographical Center of the North America monument in Rugby where my brother Ricky and I had our picture taken in 1988, and the lake where my parents live where we used to camp before they decided to retire there.

We traveled from Fargo, west of Grand Forks n Highway 2 up to Bottineau on the way there.
On the way back we took Highway 5 back to the Intestate that lead us home.
I grew up west of Cavalier in a town of 15 people named Concrete. 
We took a different route back, heading down Highway 5 that lead us all the way to my hometown and a different town where I graduated from high school. I grew up in a small town and I had to always go somewhere else to get my haircut, go to church, buy books, and visit my friends. There is something about having that stretched out geography that helped me have a greater appreciation for my home state.  We passed the graves of my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’, the valley in which I grew up in, Icelandic State Park where we spent the last day of school, my school where I spent my K-12, the hospital where I was born, and my best friend’s house when she moved into town. All these things unwrapped in my mind.

This was a time of not saying good-bye, but more acknowledging of where I came from and who I have become.   Everything had some type of reminder or memory, and there was song in it.  

The note our eldest nephew gave us. I'm going to miss those kids!

We pull out of Fargo on March 25th. Over the next week, we will be spending time with our friends at our favorite places and having a Going Away Party on St. Patty’s Day. This is like a celebration of the life that we built here, but it was an experience to re-visit the life I had before I moved here and met my husband. It was my last trip as a full-blooded North Dakotan, but it is never truly going to fade away.

Natasha

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