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Michelle Wilson
Oct 04, 2011

The Hardiness of the People

One of the things people often report when they move to North Dakota is the hardiness of the people. Sometimes I take that community characteristic for granted. But, I was reminded of it recently at Fargo Fest, a community celebration centered aptly centered on the movie Fargo. As we gathered together and gazed up at the outside viewing of the cult classic, I found myself smiling. Not only due to the kettle corn coma, but because I was connected with community.

The 45 degrees that showed up on the thermometer wouldn’t normally be an ideal temperature for an outdoor movie. But, we bundled up under blankets and cuddled up under coats to celebrate something that was meaningful. It seems likely that all communities have a kind of hardiness that comes out from time to time. During this space in time, I found myself grateful to be part of a group that could gather together and laugh at the exaggerated accents and the northern plains cultural cliché’s. I think the hardiness really struck me because as I saw this event, we weren’t celebrating despite the temperature outside; really…celebrating with the weather.

Often times in my own life, and in the practice of counseling, we’ve just got to work with what we’ve got, but doing that with other people can be a powerful experience. That process is how I understand hardiness in our little corner of the country. That whatever is going on with the weather, from 90 plus degrees with ridiculous humidity to negative 25 degrees, we’ve got each other. So, from my perspective, it’s the connections that keep us hardy. It’s the connections that make community. But, the kettle corn doesn’t hurt either!!

Michelle Wilson is a counselor in training in North Dakota. She is passionate about chemical health, recovery, and continuing to develop gender and cultural informed approaches to treatment.

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