After hiking with a group of students and artists at Cedar Point Biological Station last Tuesday, I realized my sneakers weren’t quite sturdy enough to support my aging ankles when climbing on rocky trails. After a few more days of sketching, painting and hiking a bit, I decided to spend Saturday exploring Ogallala. I visited the farmers market and enjoyed a cold brew from Slow Lane Coffee. I visited the local library and found a book I thought perfect for reading during the evenings at the station, The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker. When the librarian on duty told me I could only use it at the library, a waiting patron offered to let me check it out on her account. I was grateful for this display of hospitality and returned the book several days later after reading a wealth of prompts to contemplate.
In addition to scouting local libraries, I seek out local independent bookstores and found a gem of a shop, Hokes Bookstore, which had a good selection of titles focused on the region. I didn’t clean out the section with my purchases, but made good additions to my personal collection of Nebraska literature and guides. To get familiar with a place, I want to know more of the stories and learn about what makes it distinctive. Discovering what grows and who lives here, and how those have changed over time are topics worth exploring.
When I strolled into Bomgaars, I was pleased to see that boots were discounted, so after trying on a few pairs, settled on the arch and ankle support offered by the Ariats pictured above. I’ve worn them nearly every day since I bought them and feel much more sure-footed on the rocky trails around the station.
A few days later, I received a package. A friend had thought of me while reading a book and insisted on sending it to me while I was away from home. Thanks, Ann G., for What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas. With its descriptions of friendship, aging, betrayal and forgiveness, it is a guide for appreciating the present moment, finding absurdity and humor every day, and celebrating love.
So while I may be striding with more confidence today, I’m also stopping often to watch, listen and learn.