Posted by: Jim E | January 27, 2010

Meadowlarks, Prairie and Time…

I remember as if it was yesterday…the house we bought in Minnesota…it was June 1971…that seems like a long time ago…wait a minute…it is a long time ago!!!…

But to me…only yesterday…it is funny, (in an amazing sort of way) how time fools us…it seems to go by slowly at times and then seems to go by so fast, at other times…and as the years go by…fast or slow…remembering all of them is so difficult…

But I do remember when we bought that house…it was almost 40 years ago…we lived there until 2007…when we moved to Little Rock…36 years…our Minnesota house was built on a farmers field…still had furrows in the fields around us…so no trees or underbrush…the field behind our house was a pasture…grass but no trees…prairie, yes it was the prairie…

Our kids played…really grew-up in that field…dug holes, played with trucks and cars, dug forts, army, cowboys and Indians across that prairie…things kids will do if they have a chance…it was wonderful…one of the things our family took an interest in were birds around our house…and the ones we first noticed were Killdeer…a ground bird, lays its eggs on the ground, no real nest…stays on the ground…long legs and runs…if you get near its nest, they do the “broken wing” trick to draw you away…

There were lots of other birds…but the one that has the most beautiful song is the Meadowlark…it would land on the fence post…and sing and sing…they also build their nests on the ground…but unlike the Killdeer, it’s nest was in the long grass in the field behind us…it was built so cleverly, you could not see it…and the entrance was hidden from view…how they found it was amazing and could fly right into it…that, of course. was part of the fun of following the life of the Meadowlark…

Like life…time goes by…and over the years the trees we planted, grew and field behind us followed a natural course of things…(my biology book in high school talked about how a barren field, if left alone, would change over the years)…the field changed from grass to small scrubs to evergreen trees to deciduous trees…

The one thing we all noticed over those 30 years or so…no Meadowlarks…they simply disappeared…I remember one particular time, one of the boys asked, “Where are the Meadowlarks?”…well, when the prairie is gone, so are the Meadowlarks, I told them…and I don’t remember a Meadowlark around there in the last 20 years…a real loss to all of us…

Meadowlarks remind me of the book, by Willa Cather, and movie, “O Pioneers”…it is a wonderful book…the movie too…a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, with Jessica Lange…From the jacket: (A turn-of-the-century epic saga of settlers carving a home from the wilderness and finding the dreams of a lifetime. A timeless masterpiece of life and love, tragedy and triumph as sweeping as the land and the settlers it portrays.)

It could be any of our story…carving out a home, finding the dreams of a lifetime…a story of life, love, tragedy and triumph…as sweeping as, well, “O Pioneers”…each of us has a story…and don’t underestimate it…we are so much alike in our story…and it’s okay…in fact it is what draws us to other stories…like the book you may be reading now…what draws you to it…or to your favorite book???…we find ourselves in it…

From “O Pioneers” by Willa Cather:

“Yes, sometime, when I think about father and mother and those who are gone; so many of our old neighbors.” Alexandra paused and looked up thoughtfully at the stars. “We can remember the graveyard when it was wild prairie, Carl, and now…

“And now the old story has begun to write itself over there,” said Carl softly. “Isn’t it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; and each generation is so certain they are the first…like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years. (hearing a Meadowlark, Carl says) “Oh, listen, he’s so sure he’s the first”…

Meadowlarks, Prairie and Time…our lives, are wonderful stories…embrace the changes, enjoy them…we are so much alike…that’s what draws us to one another…timeless masterpieces…

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