i hardly know where to start. Every day I make more contacts and more connections, and learn more about myself. I spent six straight hours at "the office" -- the Espresso Shop on Dewey Street, in what used to be one wing of Montgomery Wards. Some of that was writing a report about dress codes for a state charter of the ACLU, but most of it was talking to the locals. First, there was my new Facebook friend, Dan, who contacted me even before I arrived and made me feel welcome. Then it was the group women with the spinning wheels and knitting needles who gather once a month for coffee and fiber goodness. The it was my once-upon-time neighbor and playmate, Dennis, who remembered practicing our lariat skills in our backyard on Willow Street and reminded me of the fun and mischief to be had with an irrigation ditch.
The conversations are mixed and interwove so much after a while I can't remember who said what. But the idea of North Platte feeling like a world apart came up again and again. We had all spent part of our lives elsewhere, and we had all experienced what it is like to feel connected to the rest of the world. Sometimes, in my home in the Washington, D.C., it feels like world events are happening just on the other side of my front door, and it is hard to escape from the misery and urgency. But there is something about being in a self-contained community miles from a major city, even with the Internet, cable news, and social media, that has created in me a sense of separation that makes me feel calm and safe. Several times, one or the other of us used the expression "the middle of nowhere", until one of the weavers smilingly said, "I like to think we are in the middle of everywhere".
So that's where I am, right now, or trying to be. In the middle of nowhere, and the middle of everywhere. And hoping I can be in that place, no matter where I am.