March 2010

Coming to the end of March we are fast approaching our second anniversary of when we first arrived here in the Ozarks from California. After two and a half years of preparation we had finally packed up the last of our belongings and compressed them into a trailer. Passing around hugs we said goodbye to our friends that saw us off. That was one of the most difficult things because friends are an investment of the soul and it’s sad to turn out the light and shut the door to a room once filled with laughter, food and good conversation.
Yet I’ll never forget the excitement of shaking the dust off our feet from a town that already had its best days before we arrived there 30 years ago. Children born and children raised, then children leave and create a void you never expected. Our kids said they would never move back to our dusty desert town so I don’t understand why they were so surprised to see mom and dad pull up stakes and move half way across the country. I kind of thought our move spoke in agreement to all their complaints they ever had about that town. We were the ones who ran away from home this time and it sort of left them in shock.
Starting down the road on that sunny day with our past in the rearview mirror was exciting. Looking ahead on the open road was youthful, hopeful and full of adventure.
We arrived here when the Red Bud trees were starting to bloom and with the Dogwoods soon to follow. The heavy spring rains had ended one week before and the promise of warmer days lie ahead. The long wait to get here vanished like a dream against the morning sun. Time is like that, when you’re moving toward something you can measure the time with anticipation, but when it finally arrives all that time collapses into memory and can no longer be laid out in a line that you can feel anymore.
But that last stretch of road we drove before we pulled into our driveway is still there inch-by-inch and I remember everything about it. The green trees stretched out over the road, meeting in the middle creating a tunnel for passage. Squirrels bounced back and forth across the road while flashes of bright red flew by with Cardinal wings. Spring had arrived with us and that celebration was married to our own joy and gratitude of being allowed to live in such a place as this.
The description of nature is almost overwhelming to describe with so many varieties of birds, animals, plants and trees it’s useless to strain words into pictures when there are books already written. Living here is like camping except we brought all our belongings with us. I suppose I could find some old tires to lean up against the two front corners of the house to make it seem like we parked an RV in the middle of the forest and it wouldn’t be far from the truth.
The quiet is reverent and during a typical summer day we may get 10 to 12 cars go by, in the winter, 5 or 6. When we take walks down to the river and back which is a 2-mile round trip, we rarely have a car pass by.
There is a campground down at the river and during the summer people from the city go there to get away from it all. Yet, here we are – we live here – all the time – away from it all.
This was once the home to the Osage Indians who lived their daily lives acknowledging and giving thanks to the Great Spirit for this place. On three sides of us within a mile each way are sites of what were large Indian villages. Arrowheads are still found in abundance on these sites and the Indians used to hunt the hills round about. I know by the lay of my land that it is good hunting and I’m sure they knew it like the back of their hand. Sometimes I’ll be on my porch sitting with my imagination hoping if I try real hard I’ll be able to see back in time and catch a glimpse of an Indian walking across our meadow or sitting along the ridge taking in the commanding view, another gift from the Great Spirit.
So here we are in such a place and time as this and one day we too will be only a whisper in the winds to those coming after.
It stirs my spirit to be a part of that same progression of humanity through time.
Even in this time of trouble in our country I find comfort reading the history of those who have gone through hardship as well and came out on the other side.
Through all the worries, tears and loss, one way or another it worked out and they finished their life’s journey.
So I am encouraged to resist the temptation to insulate myself from life so that I might arrive at death safely.
Cashing out of everything and moving here was a bold move at the age of 50. Leaving behind a thriving business and no retirement package for a safety net, we were warned by a few and I’m sure thought of as foolish by some. But by the end of our first year when the market crashed and those doomsayers were left standing in their “safe zone” having lost their jobs, homes and more I guess it sort of proves my point.
There are times of great difficulty and there are times of great triumph, we are here to live them all. You just have to show up for it without expectations because it will never turn out as you planned, yet in one way or another, whether painful or pleasant, it does work out and we finish our journey too.
Then one day links to another, turns into a week, then months go by and another year ends where it began. You add a notch on a tree to mark the anniversary and say a prayer of thanksgiving.

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Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 7:35 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. You need to do a book…I just read “A MILLION MILES IN A TGHOUSAND YEARS” BY DONALD MILLER Please read it it is so you. I thought of you while I read in this weekend. We will see you this Sept for sure! Keep up the writing my friend!


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