At first glance, if you blink while zipping past the gigantic bull’s head sculpture on I-90, McCook County is fairly unremarkable. On the map, it’s a pretty boring square, sliced in half north and south by the interstate highway. Zipping toward Sioux Falls or the Black Hills, you don’t see the valley thickets or the rocky rolling hills or the towering cottonwoods lining the streams and lakes. You’d miss the diversity of the soil and the careful geometry of the grain fields. You’d fly right by the people and real places.
Besides a few years away at college, I’ve lived in McCook County all my life. It’s strange, but I’d never before stopped to think a bit about just how rooted I am here. Forward and backward, the Montrose area is part of my generational being. My four daughters are at least the fifth generation to live in this place–on every side of the family. All of their great-grandparents were raised here, and raised their children and their children’s children right here.
My Lakota friends talk of being mindful of how your actions and decisions will impact seven generations of family (and what the previous seven would expect of you). My great grandchildren will be that seventh generation in this community called Montrose, and though they may not call it home by then, this soil and this place and the legacy of my great grandparents will nourish their soul and call them it’s children. An emotional reflection for me today.