Mosquitos are the State Bird. Thunderstorms are the Welcome Committee.
We've had a great time in Minnesota. Really. But when you folks from your home states make declarations like "Misquitos are the Minnesotan State Bird, y'know," we are always just a little hesistant to believe you. Mostly because that's what you say in South Carolina, too. And in Florida. And Georgia.
But come to think of it, why wouldn't we believe you? We've been eaten alive by your aggressive State Bird in each of these places. But none feel so bad as it was the last week in Minnesota. You have something special there, truly. And we have the welts to prove it. We made a priestly sign-of-the-cross on each one of them to ease the itch. Not to be holier than thou, but we had to get the hell out of there.
So now, we are in South Dakota. Brookings, to be exact. And we have secured all screens in our camper. Because apparently, in South Dakota, Mosquitos are the State Bird.
We have a pretty good setup here in Brookings, as we had the chance to scout it out last year at the Summer Arts Festival. After a month of generous homes and sneaky electrical hookups in the back of Camping World in Minnesota, we got ourselves a real campsite in the middle of town here. We love South Dakota. We have found ourselves in this great state three summers in a row, twice with a camper. But it could really use a few lessons on welcoming guests.
At 5AM, we were sat straight up by the sound of limbs falling from trees seemingly to our heads. The crack of thunder and the glitter of lightening spun like a top around us, and we set our pulse to the sway of the camper.
The lightening was so consistent, it illuminated everything around us. The migrant workers in the canvas topped camper next to us bolted to the bathhouse. The tent dwellers rattled and shook. Everyone was buckling down or taking flight. It's strange in these campgrounds to have everyone together, separated only by thin walls and a couple landing pads. But maybe it's not so different than houses and driveways. Just that, you worry less about neighbors during thunderstorms when they have a house and a 9 to 5. We wanted to invite them all in... but where would anyone sit, let alone sleep?
So instead, we watched the guy in the van sway and the girl in the tent run to her car. Everyone was taking care to survive under the steady gaze of someone else. Sometimes looking out for your neighbors is really just a matter of looking out. No one's telling you to step in or how to do the next thing-- you'll know what needs to happen if something happens. But you have to be looking.
Today we find ourselves alone on the site, no one to look out for but our little dog and each other. We are taking turns watching each other's backs for the State Bird and hoping this breeze holds up long enough to keep us safe and cool as we begin this August stretch in South Dakota.