I have a certain amount of pride in being a midwesterner.
If you know me at all, you know this is a very huge thing. I have long tried to distance myself from the 12 months (the first of my life) I spent in small-town Missouri, and very much prided myself on being a coastal girl. The Facebook group You know you’re from San Diego if… made me puff up my chest and look for airline tickets.
Yet, here I am, as I should have expected (never say never – it ALWAYS happens), and I have to say, for the zillionth time, I love it.
As we drove back to the Cities from Wisconsin this holiday break, I admired my beloved little round hay bales and the lovely old, decrepit red barns, and there was a pull inside me – almost like a cannonball lodged in my belly – that dragged me down toward the land. I feel an instinctual home-ness, a gravity here that pulls only for me. California I enjoyed. Minnesota I love.
And while many of my fellow Minnesotans are bemoaning the spate of extra-cold weather we’re entering (-15, anyone?), I am proud. Proud of the fluffy little snowflakes that settle into granite, the crunch of it under my boots and my tires, the coat and scarf and gloves I don to go out. Proud of the extra time I get up to go warm up (and dig out) the car, of the ice scraper in my backseat, of the salt stains on the bottom of my jeans. Proud of myself for being hardy enough to not only survive in this frozen tundra but to thrive here.
My friends back home may gloat about the 80 degree weather they’ve got this week, but I have much more to gloat about.
I am a Minnesotan.