DAKOTA FRESH AIR
by Rodney Nelson
The folks down at the tourism department
sure go through some pains,
To brag up and glorify
my state up on the plains.
I saw an ad not long ago
that really did impress me,
Who would have guessed—my state is best
for things one wants to see.
Yes, the pretty photos stunned me,
I would have never thought,
I was living in the middle
of one grand vacation spot.
It stressed our scenic beauty,
talked up our industry,
Pointed out historic sites
with good ac-cu-ra-cy.
They may have praised our weather
a little to excess
but when they spoke of clean fresh air
well, folks, that’s no “B. S.”!
Yes, fresh air is abundant,
it’s never stale or sour—
We import the stuff from Canada
at 90 miles an hour!
Air that we are breathing
when it’s pretty close to noon,
Was probably at breakfast time
somewhere near Saskatoon!
It’s truly quite a blessing,
that sometimes it’s a sin,
When it’s traveling by so doggone fast
that one can’t breathe it in!
It comes from all directions,
but the North winds are the best—
the air gets sort of thick sometimes
when the wind is from the West.
I hate these blasted droughty years,
like the ones we’ve had of late.
A hard, West wind is often filled
with Montana real estate!
But it sometimes works out dandy,
we all thought it was fine
how we got the Kildeer Mountains
when they blew across the line!
When North Dakota parents
Send their children out to play,
They fill their pockets up with rocks
So they won’t blow away!
But, by gosh, I’m not complaining,
thought the wind is sometimes mean,
the air that we are breathing
is truly fresh and clean!
And our weather—oh, it’s grand sometimes,
be it warm or winter chill.
But a good day in North Dakota
is when that fresh air—is standing still!
© 1995, Rodney Nelson
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission
This week we’re looking at poems about windy weather, and it is a pleasure to start with this one from Rodney Nelson, North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion.
Rodney is a popular performer and speaker at events across the West. You can watch him recite another audience favorite in a video from the 2008 Western Folklife Center National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
This photograph of Rodney Nelson is by respected photojournalist Jessica Lifland (jessicalifland.smugmug.com; Instagram) as a part of her Cowboy Poetry Project. Other subjects to date include Sean Sexton, Andy Hedges, Jerry Brooks, Waddie Mitchell, Amy Steiger and Gail Steiger, Elizabeth Ebert, Henry Real Bird, DW Groethe, Doris Daley, Bimbo Cheney, Jack Walther, and others.
Jessica Lifland is one of the official photographers for the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Find her just-posted 2020 highlights here and other gathering photos and her Cowboy Poetry Project photos here.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)