mama mondays: sioux falls sojourn

Unbelievable. I’d been to Sioux Falls before, but not to "the falls" themselves. In fact, I’d heard they were rather uneventful, far short of spectacular, so there was nothing within me that felt compelled to go out of my way to see them while visiting the South Dakota city for a writer’s conference this weekend.

But as I’ve found so often in life, the best moments are those mostly unplanned.

"What do you think, should we go along?" my author friend Jean Patrick asked just after she’d given directions to the car load of people. Two passengers in particular, an agent and editor from New York, were especially intent on seeing something besides the inside of a conference hall and hotel room during their first-ever visit to the Dakotas.

"Sure, why not?" I said, realizing that it was one of the most optimal times in the day for photo-snapping; that time in the early evening when the sun is about an hour from dropping and provides a natural fill light to heighten lines and shadows and sparkly places.

Indeed, it turned out to be a wonderful segue from the energizing/exhausting atmosphere of the writer’s conference that had just taken place to the delightful dinner we would enjoy together about an hour later. As we emerged from our vehicles, warm weather tickled our skin, luring us from the parking lot toward the nearby sounds of rushing water spilling from one layer of rocks to another and another. Standing out from the crowd of onlookers was a sprinkling of girls in prom dressers. They teetered on the rocks while posing for photos with their dates. A while later, the group rushed back to the parking lot, girls with sandals in hand and dresses hiked up, guys in a black-suited cluster unaware of the delicate dance going on behind them.

It was no Niagra, mind you, but walking into the embrace of a spring evening on the tail of a harsh, wet winter, wasn’t the worst experience in the world, by any means. What stands out in my mind, besides the water and beautiful rocks, was the stunning sight of GREEN!

I will have much more to tell about my short sojourn in Sioux Falls later in the week. But I do want to share now that I was most fortunate to have met one of my newest and most faithful blog readers, Kim, who blogs at Living4Today. Kim was one of those sweet people who popped into my inbox during Lent, even when comments were closed, to tell me she was still reading and appreciating my words. I felt like we journeyed through Lent together in some ways, and I feel so grateful for her presence. Having a chance to meet her in real life for the first time on Saturday was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend. Thanks so much Kim!

I likely will blog daily this week. I am brimming with insight and can’t wait to spill a bit of it here for your benefit. I don’t think you’ll want to miss it, unless you really don’t care to hear how one new author friend was nearly killed by a leopard seal while doing research for one of her books. Yeah, I know. Pretty ho-hum, huh? You really ought to come back. I promise to make it worth your while. (Teaser: she may have narrowly escaped death but the seal did not go hungry.)

Q 4 U: Were there any dramatic moments in your weekend? Any you’d care to share?