© 2008 Karen Van Fossan
Are you ready? I'm about to reveal the top ten reasons to stay in (move to?) Bismarck, North Dakota. This is not a joke. Really. A few years ago, I would have burst out laughing at the title of this piece. Top reason I stayed in Bismarck in the mid-90s? I couldn't get a ride to the train station.
But isn't that how I've always been? As a teenager in Kankakee (KANG-kuh-kee) County, Illinois, I had a favorite nickname for the County: Skank-akee. (Skanky meaning something I didn't like...not interesting, not progressive, not vibrant enough.)
And I admit, Bismarck does have its share of skanky aspects. (I can hear certain voices enumerating them right now.) Still, I choose to live here, and in this place, I have a beautiful life.
As a matter of fact, I have moved to Bismarck three times already. This last time, it's as if I was running by, and Bismarck reached up and took me by the ankle. Nearly five years later, here I am. Which brings me back to my Top Ten list. In all honesty, these are only my reasons. (Feel free to comment with your own.) But if you're anything like me (a quirky, tree-hugging, peace-loving type), these reasons may apply. Here we go...
Last winter, someone put smiley faces of snow on all the tree trunks in Hillside Park. (I've never found out who.)
If there's such a thing as reincarnation, I plan to come back as the North Dakota Badlands.
I like the dirt in my garden, and I'm convinced it likes me back.
If there's such a place as heaven, it's streaming with rivers and kayaks.
As long as I have comfortable shoes and bicycle grease, I can hoof and pedal almost anyplace. And usually, a driver will stop and let me cross.
Does Welcoming Congregation mean anything to you? It does to me. (Thanks.)
There are these crazy, generous people (like the Archibald Bush Foundation, NDCA, and DWAC) who actually place value on the arts in North Dakota.
Urban Harvest has tossed me a life-line to the places I would move to, but now I don't have to.
Dragon Jane Performance Art Company pushes me to the edges of who I can be. (And somehow, I like that.)
My North Dakota loved ones and friends nourish my wandering roots. And can you believe? Some of them read this blog!