Love South Dakota sunrises.
“Come here, let me show you what I’m thinking .. ” the Cowboy said to me moments before he walked out the door this morning.
I am still not sure he should’ve made the trip he’s making today. He’s got a day full of shoeing and trimming appointments hours away. School has been called off. Winds upwards of 60mph and blowing snow came through overnight and are expected throughout the day, creating treacherous conditions on the roads in our region.
“I’ll be fine,” he said to me right before leaving. “If it gets too bad, I promise I’ll turn around and come home.” Praying everyone gets safely through the day.
We’ve started a remodeling project this week, one that we’ve talked about since it seemed a reality our lives would merge. He and his ex had actually talked about building something new just a few feet away and bulldozing the century old home that stands on the acreage here. The house has needed some work. A lot of work, to be specific. Little insulation. Drafty old windows. Small rooms. Decades old carpeting. Layers of wallpaper covered by painted over paneling. Light fixtures that half work. A bathroom with a faucet that’s been leaky for quite some time. A new roof and siding…
Neither of us a big fan of taking on more debt, and me, a sucker for all things already in existence that can be fixed up, knowing the house has good bones plus just wanting a smaller home anyway vs needing an intercom to call the kids, we tore into our biggest challenge yet this week. Ourselves. Literally.
It’s going to be cool when it’s done. We’re using what we can that’s recycled and rustic to finish out the spaces we’re tackling. And, we’re taking it right now room by room, tearing out walls, ceilings… deciding what we really want for each space as we go because we just haven’t been quite sure what we’ll find along the way.
What we have found, among other things, is that this entire process is incredibly dusty. A 100+ year old home on the Great Plains with a lot of nooks and crannies open to the elements has meant as many years of collecting dust. And, we haven’t hit as many snags as I would have imagined. No asbestos tiling under the old carpet and linoleum. No asbestos insulation. Just a lot of dust. And hard work ahead…. and ideas we have to rebuild our home and life together. Speaking of .. with most other work related obligations knocked out for the day, off to work on that idea he had before leaving this morning.
The first thing I do usually when I wake each morning here in South Dakota, is look out one of our east facing windows. I think I have just about always done the same wherever I have lived, I love the morning sun and the promise of each new day. But for reasons I am about to share, the sunrise here is just different, and I appreciate each and every one I am able to enjoy.
The past 15 years of my life in Madison, WI there were typically neighbors homes or trees blocking the view and the sound of cars whipping by a busy road accompanying any morning light.
My time in Montana is perhaps the best comparison. As you can imagine, there were magnificent views in each direction and a bold skyline of snow capped mountains, rich green forests, clear ice blue rivers, and deep shadows in the valleys, all soaking up the sun as it would rise in the sky. But the sunrise would come in beautiful stages.
Here, it is instant it seems, the first crack of light is far and wide, like a fire spreading across the horizon. It is sincerely unlike any other I have ever experienced simply because, if for no other reason, there is nothing to block your view (well, maybe the power lines) as far as the eye can see.
While this morning once again did not disappoint – 6:45 a.m., deep shades of pink, orange, yellow and bright blue were mingling together across the horizon – there was one thing blocking the view. At least through one window.
While I know the sheer amount of frost here is not good for the wood frames and a clear indication we need new windows/better insulation/etc (a project we plan to tackle in coming months) I tried to ignore that for the time being and soak in the moment.
The pattern of the frost was a bit mesmerizing and I loved the first light of dawn shining through.