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Landscapes Tell Good Stories

I stare through the car window, watching rows of crops roll past me on the highway. The land reminds me to slow down. "Good things take time and hard work," it says as I rush on my way. This lightning-paced world pushes me towards the edge of my sanity. My body feels the weight of the burdens I pile upon my shoulders as I press on toward what I perceive to be bigger and better things. Then the thunder rumbles and the rain descends in gray, shimmering curtains. This, too, is good. The earth drinks in the water supplied. I remember the smell of freshly harvested hay and rich black dirt that whisper of my humanity in all its fragile earthiness. I recall that the beginning of all things was in a garden - hands in dirt, breathed on and into, flourishing. Time evades me. I am six years old, following my Grandaddy into the summer garden in its autumnal glory. The skies above us are gray. We walk along pale rows of dry cornstalks, harvested in part by our hands and in part by grateful deer. My dull red galoshes shine with rain. I dig my toe into the muddy footprint in front of me on the path. Grandaddy carries a white five gallon bucket and we pick the last of the tomatoes and purple hull peas as we walk the produce aisles. I spot racoon tracks and keep an eye out for movement but they are night visitors and rarely join us this early. Calloused hands grasp the handle of the swaying bucket as we curve back to the house. Inside, tomatoes are stored, sweet corn is simmering in milk and butter in an iron skillet. Purple hull peas are shelled around the kitchen table, stories are shared. I bask in the light of these faces, shining with laughter, lined with years of labor and sorrow. I recognize that this is a sacred moment, formative in ways I can not yet comprehend. The memory dissolves. Fields stretch out before me. "Good things take time and hard work." My breathing deepens, my heart is steady. I choose the slow journey, methodical steps in the footprints before me-- the delight of harvesting with grateful hands, the building of a place called "home". I keep my eyes ever on the land, my heart turned Heavenward. I am replenished. Landscapes tell good stories.

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