Last night I started rereading a professor's favorite book, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, by Kathleen Norris. I read it my junior or senior year of college and was not impressed. It wasn't her writing that didn't impress me, it was the content. Ms. Norris praises Dakota, which is the term she uses to refer to both North and South Dakota. Having lived on the prairie my entire life, I did not see the beauty of the land or its people. I was young and ready to seek another geography, another way of life. I thought beauty was everywhere but in Dakota.
It's interesting that I've held on to the book for this long. It's remained in my travels since college because I knew it was a book I wanted to get back to one day. It was a book I knew I had to grow into. I still remember the day I told my professor my thoughts. He didn't argue with me, but like all other books "I just didn't get," he tried to convince me of its worth. The combination of his excitement and my determination to see the beauty that I had lived in for the first twenty-one years of my life must be the reason for me keeping it.
I barely made it through the first chapter last night, only because I was tired, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm hoping to finish the book appreciating the place of my childhood. I'm hoping that its place on my shelf has been earned.