Thursday, August 26, 2010

Prairie Path

If you missed the first day of the Prairie Journey,
please read Prairie Petals.

Nine miles north, three miles east.

I traveled this path to my North Dakota home on the
Olson farmstead thousands of times.

Yes, my family bought the ten acre farmstead,
complete with barn, house, chicken coop and granary,
but it was still always referred to as the Olson farmstead.

My high school friend, Janet, drove
nine miles north and three miles east,
to my former home on the prairie.

The road stretched before me with anticipation,
as it did when I first moved to ND from Montana
 after I finished 7th grade.
 Our family had been so excited to buy a farmstead. 
We wanted to garden, have animals, fix up the house,
and entrench ourselves with the people of the small town.

It didn't happen quite that way.

We gardened and raised some animals,
but never quite were able to find our place in the
farm community.

After about seven years, my parents moved back to Montana.

My family's best memories always revolved around
our beloved old Farm House.

My friend tried to break the news ahead of time,
but, it was still a bit of a shock.

Our house had been razed, grain bins stood in its place.

Janet is walking down our old driveway,
the road I learned to drive on.

It's also the road I chased the runaway cow down in my high heels
on the mornings he got out before I went to work.

The view I used to enjoy out of my bedroom window.

The house had been empty, rented, sold, empty, rented and sold
over and over during the past few decades.
It had fallen into a state beyond repair
and had to be destroyed.

The work my family invested in
remodeling the farm house
was buried beneath ND soil.

Driving back into my hometown, I saw further ravages of time.

The newspaper office I worked at for several years,
had burned to the ground.
The restaurant I frequented had closed.
Almost every business on Main Street was closed or changed.

It was like my high school life had been  erased.

I still am humbled by the reaction to my presence
 at the one class reunion I attended 18 years after Graduation.

Three different people expressed their disbelief
 that I was in their graduating class.

It seems that even memories of me were erased
along with physical evidences of my existence.

I had mixed emotions as I pondered all these things.
Although the town has little evidence of my existence,
my existence has evidence of living in that town.

I learned faithfulness.
I cherish the friendship of several friends
who are still a part of my life.

I learned forgiveness. 
 I forgave those who tormented me,
although they never confessed their wrong.

I learned diligence.
Building, fixing, remodeling and gardening were tasks
 that built my character,
even if the work itself was destroyed.

I left my hometown,
but those things I longed to leave behind,
followed me.
I still had to deal with them,
the stench was heavy on my soul.
Whether it was my sin,
or the sins against me,
they had to be forgiven and cleansed,
for me to have peace in life.
The Lord is gracious with His forgiveness,
and so taught me to forgive others.

Psalm 103:12
 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

The sins and troubles of my past,
like my home
and the newspaper office,
have been erased from time,
by a gracious and merciful God.

Now, I can excitingly return to a place I couldn't wait to leave.
I am blessed to fill my heart and mind with new memories
with my faithful friends.

But, it's only because the east is so far from the west,
that I can travel back on a path of peace,
that's nine miles north and three miles east.

next read Prairie Pain


  1. oh the distant memories that remain near and dear to our hearts...

  2. What a beautiful post. It's such a slippery feeling to go to one's hometown—-the attempt to reconcile the past and the present.

  3. I love this. I love the pictures, and I muse over the thoughts.

  4. I was wondering how you would feel "going back". I guess it's easier for me as I faced it all head on and just forged thru. I know I told you this summer but I'll say it again, you were my rock in HS. I always looked up to you as the self assured and confident one and I wanted to be just like you. Little did I know how you really felt back then. But you helped make me who I am today... Thanks a bunch!


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