Friday, March 10, 2006

Bismarck and Yoga and the KOA

Last night I was lying there in bed and remembered a trip I took to North Dakota 2 1/2 years ago. Specifically I recalled doing yoga outside my tent at the KOA in Bismarck. And suddenly I thought "Now THAT is funny!"

I love the KOA. I love the yellow. I love the email updates I get about specials at the KOA. I love thinking about the homely, tubby little girl I met at the Bismarck KOA who was RVing back to Spokane with her grandparents.

When I went to North Dakota, I was having some back problems. So whereas I usually go on exercise hiatus when I'm on vacation (I have some issues about other people knowing that I exercise), I had to do the yoga. I think my travel companion thought I was a bit of a weirdo and I can only imagine what my fellow denizens of the KOA thought.

Also, the day before I left for the Dakotas, I twisted my ankle in the kiddy-pool portion of my family's annual July 4th obstacle course. Usually when I twist my ankle, I ignore it. This is not the best of strategies, I suppose, but it has resulted in some neat crackling sounds when I move my foot in circles.

So anyway I left for the Dakotas with a bum ankle but this did not stop me from running the entire length of the very large front lawn of the Bismarck capitol building. Who knows what long term effects this will have on the ankle, but I don't care.

Another thing that I did on the lawn there was recline on the grass and have my friend take a picture of me in the same pose of my favorite picture of myself (taken somewhere in Montreal). Of the original, one's main impression would be "My, that girl has a nice rack." But in Bismarck I just looked frumpy.

Anyway, I liked Bismarck. Though there were some very grumpy people there and others who thought my friend and I were nuts for coming to North Dakota on purpose.

Not only did I go to North Dakota on purpose, it was a life-long dream. When I was 11 I was looking at a map of ND and my eyes fell on a town by the name of Rocklake. I got a shiver up my spine (I was sort of prone to these at that age, I think) and thought "I have to go there!" Who knows how many other towns I had similar reactions to? But Rocklake stuck in my mind through the years, so maybe there weren't any or many others. At any rate, when I was 24 I finally went.

Rocklake is very sparsely populated and if you drive around there during the day, you will see only females. And you wonder why and maybe even get the creeps. And then you will look around for miles and miles and see nothing but flaxen fields (flaxen fields bloom a deep blue for a couple of weeks in July, only in the morning and evening, and if you are driving through that area during that time, it is possible to get confused and think a flaxen field is a lake or a lake a flaxen field) and some kind of field with yellow flowers. And you will realize. Oh. Boys farm. Girls stay in town and run the community-owned cafe. Beautiful teenaged girls of Scandinavian descent who have no illusions about farming life--it is difficult and unlikely in this age of large corporate farms--and who know by the time they are 15 that they will some day have to leave where they grew up if they ever want to make a living.

Rocklake is beautiful. When you've wanted to see it for 13 years, you might be disappointed at first that it is a normal-looking midwestern town. You might wish it didn't have a water tower like every other town or that on the way into town there weren't a sign touting the winning girls basketball team from 1973. You might wish it were a bit more magical. But then of course you realize that it is. Because it is quiet and because you can see forever and because you can lie down in the middle of the road and not be disturbed and because it is thrilling to think of how cold it gets in the winter. And it makes you turn the car stereo up loud and dance in the rain in the parking lot of your bed and breakfast.


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