Spring awaits on the western edge.
For 11 weeks now, I've been a resident of Watford City, N.D.
Moving from Fargo, the edge of eastern North Dakota, to Watford City, far in "the lawless border region," as my dad called it, involved several long hauls and an apartment hunting blitz. I moved in during a rain- and windstorm, got ticketed for parking when I went to buy a chair and slept on my bedroom floor for four nights due to the lack of a soft sleeping surface (i.e. mattress, couch, friendly Labrador).
But now things are better.
I've made friends around town, am well acquainted with my job and working on some great stories.
The landscape around here is beautiful and arguably has more to offer than Fargo's flat farmland, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
How easy it is, however, to drive 20 minutes south to be in the gorgeous Little Missouri Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park's North Unit. Before moving, it was at least a five-hour drive from Fargo to even get to the North Unit's gates.
Now it's like driving from my old apartment near Kmart to my parents' place up in north Fargo.
One reality I noticed about Fargo in moving to Watford City was the proliferation of trees. I realized this when viewing the city from the 16th floor of the Radission Hotel Fargo during my buddy Pace's graduation party. Fargo is carpeted with green trees.
Watford City has none.
Well, maybe that's not true, but what Watford City lacks in trees, it makes up for with topography, and Fargo vice-versa.
The people are perhaps the most noticeable feature of my new town. Ninety-nine percent of those I meet are nice, warm and receptive to a young journalist they just met.
It's just the guy who flipped me off in traffic last month who's been hard to get along with.
A few of my Fargo relations told me how holier-than-thou or uptight Watford City area residents may be to a young guy from Imperial Cass, but I haven't sensed any overriding "west is best" mentality. If anything, people aim to get along and work together to make great things like the Watford Market or turn out for my photography exhibit.
I've vowed to give it at least one year in Watford City to experience a full circle of life in this place (unless something hugely life altering happens). I've liked what I've seen so far.