When I was growing up in Decorah, I can’t count the number of times people said, “Oh, you must love it there. It’s so beautiful!” I didn’t really understand what they thought was so special and amazing about the place, to be honest.
Fast forward a few years when I left home to attend college in one of the largest cities in our state.When I would return to Decorah, I began to fully comprehend what they were talking about. It was a slow realization, but it happened. Now I see Decorah as my retreat. I only live about an hour and a half from there so it’s a perfect place to go when I need to regroup.
When I’m in my hometown, even when I’m driving on the twisting roads that lead me there, my heart beats a little slower, my breaths are a little deeper, and my thoughts slow way down. There is something about this precious place that makes me see things a little differently. I remember the simplicity of life there, where you walk down Water Street and people greet you with a smile. I feel like I can visit any of the folks I know who still live there and be welcomed in without hesitation.
It’s the place I go where I can appreciate and recall the love of my family as I grew up. I can go to all the secret places that only those of us who lived there know about. Its where I feel like I belong, where my mind and soul can experience full relaxation. Although its been over 30 years since I’ve lived in the area, it will always and forever be home to me.