South Dakota


About one year ago I moved to one of the square states. One of those Dakotas as they say (and apparently the South doesn’t mean it’s the warm one). I was scared out of my mind. I left my safe little copy editing job in Illinois which i hated  which i kind of liked, to cover state government in the middle of nowhere Pierre, South Dakota (note: the town name is pronounced so that it rhymes with beer, and has no French influences in it at all).

I lived in this town — where the closest Target was about two-and-a-half hours away — for about eight months. And the whole time I was there i complained that it was too far from home and that it was too cold and that it was too far from home and that there was no Target store and that it was too far from home and that there was no Applebees and that it was too far from home and that the South Dakotans were SO DIFFERENT and that it was too far from home. So, I found my self a a job that’s a little closer to home and I moved back east (and by east I mean Wisconsin).

And, don’t get me wrong, I really do heart my new job. (although I could live without all this dang snow in this dang state). But earlier today I opened up my cell phone and before I clicked my text message inbox i looked at the picture I have on the phone — a sunset over the Missouri River in South Dakota — and i missed the Mount Rushmore state.

What you should understand is that South Dakota sunsets are legendary. They are almost magical and they take up the entire sky and nothing like them happens in any state that’s not shaped like a square because square states were given big skys by God to make up for the fact that they don’t have many Target stores.

So, at that moment, when I looked at that beautiful picture, I missed South Dakota — desperately. I missed the sunsets, and the friends and the couch I used to have. I missed the local restaurants and walking in the nature areas and working in a capital. And, if five years ago someone would have told me that i was going to MISS some weird square state where their biggest claims to fame were carved presidents and a corn palace — i would have laughed out loud at that someone.

But i miss that stupid square state (and everything in it). I’m sorry. I do.

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