We've been in Red Lake for a couple of weeks now, and already it is starting to feel like home. Our temporary apartment, though a bit shabby (and not in the chic way), is filled with our things that were packed away for a long, long time while we lived in Tahoe. It felt amazing to open up the boxes and find my colorful mug collection and all of the concert posters and framed photos we have accumulated over the years.
Before we left for Red Lake, I purchased a California state flag that now hangs over the couch as a little reminder of what we left behind. It's funny to see people's faces when they hear where we came from. "WHY?" is the reaction I usually get. For an adventure, I say.
Now...how to describe Red Lake? Well, it's small. Really small. Altogether, I think there are four restaurants and a hot dog stand (with some amazing Poutine, I must add). There is one stoplight in the whole town. Yes, just one. It is referred to as "THE" stoplight.
Everyone knows everyone. My second day as a reporter for the local paper, The Northern Sun News, I got the full tour of the town and met everyone from the mayor to the local coffee shop owner. Already I've seen many of these same people in yoga class or at the community garden tending their plot.
The thing that sticks out the most to me is how sincerely and openly kind everyone has been. My fellow reporter and tour guide found out I loved gardening and local food, so she took me around to several of her friends' houses to collect extra plants for my newly purchased garden plot and to find a supplier for fresh, backyard-raised chicken eggs and goat cheese. She sent me home with arms full of beautifully colored rainbow chard from her own garden to cook up for dinner.
In Red Lake, strangers greet you in the street. Neighbors ask you how your day has been. Coworkers share their secret blueberry picking spots where they swear they grow as big as grapes. It's unlike any place I have ever lived.
We've been fishing like crazy, exploring old logging roads, off-roading in the truck (not my favorite, nor Daisy's), walking down the street to get ice cream at night, working on our garden, and for once, we are both happily employed.
My job at the newspaper is both interesting and gratifying. I'm in a small office of all women, and what I report on is predominately happy news. So-and-so won the Walleye tournament. Meat Raffle at the Legion on Friday night. New medical clinic construction underway. Everyone is encouraging and helpful---something I am not used to finding in my jobs.
My little office is beginning to feel like my own with my grandmother's old lamp replacing the headache-inducing fluorescent lights and my herb-of-the-month calendar hanging by my desk. Daisy is loving, and is loved by, the office and its crew. She spends the day curled up on her Pendleton blanket, legs twitching as she chases a squirrel in her dream. Occasionally she gets up to make her rounds to the ladies for head scratches.
This weekend we plan to get out and explore on a canoe. There are so many lakes and rivers to take in. So far, minus the mosquitoes, this summer is blissful. Happy Almost Weekend, friends. Make it a good one.