Black Hills: Cold weather, warm hearts

By Leslie Silverman

The Black Hills may be cold, but the warm hearts of the people who live in the Hills make it worth it to stay.

It seems that the cold weather is slowly descending upon us. And, with that, I am beginning to hear the rumblings of friends and strangers alike who say “I hate the cold.”

I have to laugh when I hear someone in the Hills say that. I mean, we all have a choice as to where we live. So why would anyone who “hates the cold” choose to live in the Black Hills?

Yes, for some it’s a matter of having been born here or having family or roots here. But many of the people I hear grumbling about the cold moved and stay here by choice. Why? Could it be because of the clean air and water? The tax advantages the region has over others? The amazing opportunities to hike, bike, ski, climb, fish, four-wheel or hunt right outside your door?

Maybe it’s the uniqueness of living in one of several small towns yet still having a plethora of city services and entertainment.

Centrally located, I can be in some of the beautiful secluded mountains in the country within a four hour drive. I can get a fix of professional sports and diverse eats within six hours.

A convenient and simple airport, two thriving college campuses, twisty motorcycling and tons of hokie fun make this one of the best kept secrets in the country.

But all that awesomeness aside, I think the real reason people here tolerate the cold is that it’s balanced by the warmth of the residents themselves. It’s the ease with which conversations are struck. Or how seemingly effortless it is to make long-lasting friendships and real relationships. It’s knowing your neighbor, but not in that knowing all their business judgy way but in actually caring about their well being.

It’s the smile you get while in line at the grocery store. And the courtesy you encounter on our roads.

Yes the weather is, at times, downright frigid out. But I think the hearts and homes of the Hills residents are filled with so much love and warmth it makes that arcticness seem completely bearable.