Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In general: life. With lightening bugs.

Bailey with a bow.
With the snow completely melted and the threat of frost soon gone, it's beginning to seem a lot like summer in Decorah. From dancing in bars to potlucks with games, I'm looking forward to what summer actually has to offer (aside from the humidity) ... everyone else seems to feel this way, too!

Most musicians in Decorah play danceable music at their shows, from two-step to swing and anything else. And everyone dances. The fantastic thing about this is that no one really cares what you look like or if you're even dancing that well - just dance. And so I do, and end up world's away from my mind's problems. As cliches go, I dance like no one's watching and it feels good. Last weekend, we went to a contra dance at the Highlandville school. It's a one room school house from back in the day that's perfect for dancing. It's also quite idylic, with windows open and dewey grass outside to cool off in, music floating around.

While life isn't perfect and my ducks are certainly not all in a row, Decorah keeps letting me know I'm in the right place. At work things are getting busy, which means less time on a computer and more time outside gardening. And I know I'm in the right place when I spend most of my work day gardening, then come home to pick up the hula-hoe and do the same to my own community plot.

A perfect Sunday afternoon.
Sunday was a fantastic day - it's amazing how accomplished and happy you can be when you fill a day with successful chores. And there was something quite picturesque about having my clothes all on the line, with freshly cut grass underneath and coffee for any break time. My house came with a clothes line, and most houses around town have one. Furthermore, no one collects grass to throw away here - it just goes right back on the lawn. While I did this in Davis, it wasn't the norm - a peer of mine was doing research on the benefit of leaving the clippings right on the lawn. Apparently, they already know about this in the Midwest.

On Saturday there was a potluck at a friend's farm out of town. This farm is awesome - bunnies, chickens, geese, guinea fowl, lambs, then of course tons of delicious vegetables. They have the best tasting eggs in town ... available at the Co-Op, too! Did I tell you that you really get to know your farmer around here? In any case, we shared food and played games, and I absolutely love that I have friends that will play duck-duck-goose as grown adults. It's nice because I have other friends to spend the rest of that evening with drinking whiskey on the porch, then heading to the bar to dance. It all seems too story book perfect.

Foraging feast!
Last Saturday, my friends and I made a forging feast - Steffen caught the fish, then we collected wild parsnips (being careful to avoid the tops) to roast next to a risotto of stinging nettle (tastes like spinach) and wild ramps with morels on top. Feast on this, nature.

And speaking of nature and story books, guess what else is here? LIGHTENING BUGS. The real things. They even live in town, and flash like lightening (though less intense). I'm excited for summer when there are more of them. Plus, Bailey was trying to catch a few on her walk last night so I'll also have a new form of entertainment when they increase their numbers. I've been attaching her leash to the porch and letting her lounge on the front stoop like a real porch dog ... she loves it. So many bugs to chase.

And otherwise, have I mentioned there's a river that runs through town? The upper Iowa, accessible all over and open for the swimming. So yesterday afterwork, we did! It was warmer than the Pacific, with stronger currents but equally refreshing. I'm so very happy I can just jump in the river at any point I want! Then maybe get ice cream at the Whippy Dip afterwards, and gosh darn it, doesn't that just sound dandy?

So there it is. Life is dandy. And everyone keeps telling me I fit in really well. How about them apples - little Midwestern Christy from California, walking her dog, swimming in the river, and dancing all the time.

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