I’ve been spending lots of time in the corn field lately.

Aberdeen is a unique community in the way town and country sort of blend into one. I live in a mature neighborhood next to a major cross street, yet two blocks away I have my corn field.

Well, it’s not MY cornfield. I’ve just sort of claimed it. It’s been my happy place during this quarantine.

At some point in the day, my skin starts to feel a little too tight, my home starts to feel a little too small, and my people seem a little too… present.

That’s when I walk to the cornfield.

Most times I just stroll, but yesterday, I walked with purpose. I walked in a virtual 5K in honor of a young South Dakota woman named, Nikki, who died by suicide in 2005.

Her mom started the annual event to raise money to help kids at University of South Dakota who are facing financial needs that might prevent them from seeking mental health services. This year, because of the obvious restrictions, the walk/run was moved online.

Dakota, my GoldenDoodle, wasn’t officially signed up for the race, but she makes my happy places especially happy, so she got to come along.

The first song to come through my earbuds was “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten. I couldn’t help but think of the people struggling right now and decided to dedicate my walk to them as well.

A funny thing happens when you take your ordinary and dedicate it to others. It becomes extraordinary.

Instead of wondering when “normal” will return, my mind began to see all the things Nikki and so many others can no longer see. I stopped to pick up trash along the way and gave thanks for Dairy Queen Blizzards. I gathered three baseballs and three golf balls and thought of the fun people were having when they lost them. I watched Dakota run free and make friends with a horse and my heart swelled at the connection.

Then I got to the middle of the cornfield and realized I was singing. Loudly. I didn’t even realize it, and there was no one to look at me funny or tell me I’m off key. It reminds me of the line in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, “Go ahead and scream your head off! We’re miles from where anyone can hear you!”

Just like my walk, I feel like I’m now rambling, so let me just say this: go for a walk. Explore something new. Make it a time to think good thoughts about others. And please know, a lady and her dog in South Dakota are thinking good thoughts about you.

#RunforResilence #lostandfound #wearehereUSD