January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
The vegetarian fare (plus the option of fish) was new for me; I’m a total carnivore. The head chef was a master at pulling out key flavors and knowing how to perfectly complement each taste with another. For those who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a mimosa during breakfast on vacation, alcohol is not offered in the dining hall (although there is a small wine and espresso bar next to one of the pools!). But you didn’t need it; the fresh-squeezed juices every morning were enough to get your taste buds pleasantly drunk with happiness. I would venture to say that the food I experienced was the best I ever will, but it was the attentive company that truly surprised me. The maître d’ offers the option of a community table when you are seated for dinner, giving health fanatics from all over the world the chance to meet. I heard amazing stories of moms and daughters, best friends and even solo travelers who come to The Ranch annually to escape the hustle of everyday life and remember what it feels like to really pause and focus on their health and mental wellness. In the fast-paced, charged-up world we find ourselves in, it’s easy to forget about the simple pleasure of just talking to a total stranger—and in this case, sharing a meal together.
The value of interacting with other like-minded humans isn’t something you can appreciate through an Instagram comment. Coming together every evening for a meal in the same room as nearly 120 other visitors, without a single person peering down at a screen, reminded me of that simple truth. The basic act of swiping right to shut it down and noticing the sights, smells and sounds around you—unfiltered—is so freeing.