Photo by Pandanus Tree
Our piece of Prairie Sky started out as my own journey, but it has become more than that. My family are all on their own and live miles apart, but we still are all connected to the prairies. We all have our own pieces!
I have gorgeous photos taken by them from all corners of our beautiful prairie land.
This came to me @ 5.A.M. this morning after a wonderful family weekend celebration & it changed my whole direction from what my next blog was going to be. I had mainly planned to write random pieces as they came to mind but for this one I decided to continue from WHAT’S IN A NAME and go back to what set my writing pattern in motion.
My trip back home as I’ve written, led me to all my stories, my nicknames, (loved & hated) my artwork & my poems…some were barely readable scratches on pieces of paper. They had all been saved in a trunk for me by my Mom, who in her wisdom, knew I’d come back one day. After all of the findings: the joys, the tears, the remembering, the sorting and years of re-writing, I compiled my book filled with: MY PIECES OF PRAIRIE SKY. However all my attempts at publishing left me with the feeling that it wasn’t the right time.
Now I know that it’s because I am NOT alone on this journey. My life is braided into my family’s, theirs into mine.
That makes it ‘OURS’. Not that I am going to invade on their privacy in any way, but because I am going to be able to keep sharing it with them & I see how they are a continuation…of where I began…on the prairies. It’s a journey that’s definitely ‘OURS’.
After my parents had gone, I couldn’t think of any reason to go back to a place that didn’t belong to us anymore. I was quite angry at God for many of my own reasons. But mostly I was angry because my parents were good people. They shouldn’t have been taken yet and I should have come back sooner and helped keep the farm in our family. So in reality, it was myself whom I was angry at…it was just easier to blame God. Besides, isn’t He the ‘Multi Tasker?
The winding road back home was a two hour drive. The season: Early Summer. Slowly I crossed the main street of my old home town. More than ten years had passed since I’d taken this drive.
“Another six miles to go,” I told myself. Now I was on a gravelled back road. I glanced in my rear view mirror. A thick cloud of dust chased me and blocked everything else from sight. I visited the cemetery first. A few recent plots stood out, a reminder of the circle of life. Summer wind whispered gently, soothingly through the tall pines. There was peace here. I felt it instantly & let my tears go. I was tired of being angry. It was up to me to change it. No one else. I wasn’t doing such a good job being my own boss so I simply said: “Take over, Lord!”
The wind felt clean and refreshing on my tears. I back tracked and came to the last hill before our old place. “Funny,” I thought. “It seemed this hill was a lot steeper when I used to coast down it on my bike.” The row of tall spruces, still standing were a familiar & rewarding landmark. They were breathtakingly strong and beautiful! More stately than I recalled, standing firm against the elements, year after year, decade after decade. I slowed to almost a crawl & drank in the view.
Even as I write these words today, that feeling of ‘familiarity’ as I idled down the driveway, washes over me.
How happy I was every day, when I reached it after a long hot walk or bike ride.”So good to be home!” In my mind, our border collie, Shep, was coming out of his shady bed under the lilac bushes, to meet me at any moment. He had been
Shep had a built in radar. He knew how I hated snakes and would run to meet me, then walk ahead of me down our shady drive. The garter snakes liked to sleep stretched out on the cool gravel. If there was one, he actually grabbed it, shook it a few ’til its brains rattled, and tossed it into the bush. Shep was my hero dog for many great & faithful years.
As I parked in the yard, I pictured myself running across the sweet squishy grass after a summer shower. Everything sparkled in the sun. Shep & I ran for joy! After I collapsed out of breath on the front steps, Dad would tell me how he estimated I put on at least two & a half miles!
“Better stop for fuel! How about Blueberry pie?”
It was intense! I was here and overwhelmed with forgotten emotions. I almost expected Mom & Dad to come out to greet me with outstretched arms! Summer wind blew all around me. The fragrance from our lilacs enveloped me. Lovely shades of purples, mauve & white, all blooming in a wild, untrimmed maze of colors. I looked at the house. The windows , now scantily clad in tattered ecru lace, once starched & held back with ribbons.
I closed my eyes. Beautiful flowering plants lined those wide window sills all year ’round. Those same plants were faithfully set out on the steps during summer showers. The second story with the double dormer windows faced west. That was my room. Oh how stifling hot that room became during long summer days. That turned into longer summer nights from which there was no escape unless God sent rain! And that was that! Grumbling got me nowhere! That was for the bears & Readers, you’ve already read about THAT one! Picture this & breathe in…On the east side of the house, the endless clothesline with freshly washed sheets billowing in the summer wind! Can’t you just smell that clean country air dried laundry? There’s nothing like it!
Now that was a temptation too hard to resist no matter how many times I got in trouble for it! I snuck them off the line and made the best tents…EVER! However, I don’t remember Mom once coming to take them away while I was playing in them. So maybe I shelled peas for an hour before supper! I knew I owed her big time. I’d had hours of fun.
After raising my crew & years & mountains of laundry, via automatic washers & dryers, I realized how much extra work I made for her. They would be back in the load titled: MONDAY’S WASH.
‘GOOSEBERRIES!’ Does anyone remember what they were? OMG! They were these awful green berries that grew on the prickliest bushes in our orchard. Dad might have been right when he told me they were named that because they were so sour, they gave a person goose bumps! It was true! I can remember how my cousins & I dared each other by stuffing our mouths full of the berries, then our nerve was tested by crunching into them! They did make you shiver! AAAGGGHHHH!!!
A short path away was Mom’s summer kitchen. It was the hub of activity. Preserves in the fall, jars and jars of them were simmered to just the right color & thickness. Never ending loaves of bread came out of the oven of that big black cook stove. It was identical to the one my sister, Alice cooked on at the lake, but at least she used a modern one at home. But my Mom cooked almost everything on hers out in the summer kitchen, also boiling hot in the summer. Dad had gotten her an electric one but she preferred ‘old faithful’ as she called it. A red & white enamel coffee pot still remained in its place above the warming oven. Heavy cast iron pans hung on the wall as though any moment someone might drop in with fresh fish for frying. A hand crocheted dish towel hung by the sink.
Beside the door, Dad’s work boots neatly placed & ready for morning. I ran my hand along the checkered blue & white oil cloth covering the table. Here, my parents enjoyed tea after the evening meal. While they played a card game or two, I was busy writing about all I had or hadn’t accomplished that day.
The gate with it’s solitary hinge complained a little as I closed it. I heard the friendly greetings of the neighbors who stopped by. The country style of sharing joys, sorrows & endurance or geniuine concern for one another, can not be forgotten just because years have passed. Neighbor relied upon neighbor for help and it was given without question. That was the way it was …then…this is how I still remember it …now. From the very roots of my heart.
My treasures were safe in my car. It was time to go, but still I lingered.
I closed my eyes & thought about how many others have taken similar trips down their own memory lanes? Everything has a season and a purpose. I knew now that my Mom hadn’t really left us. She loved her home and us. She freely gave of herself to the community and our church. Her greatest joy came through in the countless things she made for us and taught us to do.
Dad hadn’t left without a trace, either. His love for our home was still vivid in our minds. He always said he never needed to travel around the world. Everything that was dearest to him was right here, under the prettiest piece of prairie sky. Their loving spirits have continued on in us, their children. Together they had firmly planted seeds of family love.
Like the prairie wind, their memories will keep moving with us. Although we may not see it, it is still there. It will continue to come and go. My parents are my prairie wind.
The season for them will always be summer. That’s my favorite wind.
When years have taken a toll on our memory, hopefully these printed pages of my mind will refresh us, bring us new hope and joy to give to our generations that follow.
I looked up one more time.
YEP! It was still there…right where I left it….OUR PIECE OF PRAIRIE SKY.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon with the “MONDAY WASH” that I pulled off Mom’s clothesline!
Memory Lane @ www.pagesofmymindblog.com