NEARLY 10 HOURS in a vehicle traveling almost 600 miles round trip to Fargo, North Dakota, under the gloomiest of grey November skies can test one’s endurance.
The eyes began to wander, to lock onto the slightest patches of color in an otherwise dull and monotone landscape.
Billboards offer a diversion as do the semis which follow Interstate 94, some forking north toward Canada, others continuing even farther west into the endless grey expanse.
Red barns and piles of golden corn and deer hunters in blaze orange distract me from the barren greyness of this journey to the Red River valley. I wonder at that use of the word “valley,” for I see no indentations in the earth to suggest a valley.
I am a prairie native. But even for me, the flat land west of Fergus Falls and into Fargo/Moorhead challenges my spirit. I feel insecure and diminished in this place and that unsettles me.
How can a place seem so flat that I feel as if I will step off the earth should I journey any further than the northwestern fringes of Fargo?
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling