Today, the rain has gone, the wind has ceased to blow, and it is very, very hot, inside and out.
I sit in a quiet house, on a quiet farm, in the peaceful, quiet little village town of Drumblade. There are few things to disturb the perfect silence out here. Occasionally, the dogs will bark, mostly at each other as there are no unfamiliar passer-bys to keep them entertained or excited.
We woke this morning to get out and enjoy some fresh air before the heat became too much. Our usual walk to the end of the road and back was almost eventful this morning, as we saw people out and about for reasons other than heading to or from a long, labor-filled work day. We greeted our unfamiliar neighbors as they were out on morning walks and tried our best to stay out of the pathway of other neighbors hurriedly driving past, impatient with walkers in road as they made their way to destinations that remain unknown to us. As we walk, we wonder aloud: what do people here do? Where are they off to in such a hurry at 9am on a Saturday? We know this village has a lifetime of stories to tell; we are slowly becoming a part of these stories and look forward to hearing of the stories past.
As we approach the Tuck shop, we realize the distant person opening the shop has recognized us: it is Cindy, who we hoped would soon join us on these daily walks through town. We greet her, pleased to have any ‘familiar’ face to greet us along our way. We learn this is her shop as she tells us about her busy week and as she apologizes that time got away from her this week but she still hopes to join us next week. Perhaps her husband can go on bike rides when we walk each day, as a means to keep him accountable to exercise also. As she tells us this, a small group of cyclists passes us, and I am reminded of how much I miss having a bike and people to ride with; the thick, unforgiving heat of the morning reminds me of many days on tour last summer.
Cindy quickly starts writing notes, and we soon realize she is active on committees throughout the neighborhood. She is enthusiastic about putting out a notice that I’m looking for a bike to borrow for the year I am here; she insists there is no reason to buy one for such a short period of time. I drift in and out of the conversation, dwelling on information she offers, invitations she offers, the relationships she is looking forward to developing during our stay here.
Finally, today, it is beginning to feel like there is life in this small town, and this brings me hope. I am hopeful as the mysterious going-ons of the community are at hand as we are promised a radio by the end of the week, whereby we will have access to the community broadcast system. We will be in the know of community gatherings, volunteer opportunities, or needs/wants as they have their own form of “Craig’s List” that is broadcast each morning between 9 and 10 each morning. They even have a ride-share program the radio is used for so that people like us - people without transport to town - can potentially pick up rides with others heading that way near the same time. It is encouraging today to be reminded of the shared life and fellowship and networks of a small town, and I imagine that this small town is, in many ways, not so different from the small town I come from in South Dakota, a small town called McCook Lake that I will always call “home.”