Land and Reality

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Dear friends, we don’t have TV or Internet at the farm, so we have become avid readers. If I have misjudged and run out of library books before the next time we go to town, there is only one thing to do, read one of Larry’s choices. I don’t like violence, and I’m way past watching another western on TV, so reading a Louis L’Amour book, well …

While tackling the first one, I stopped now and then and asked Larry why he or anyone would read one account after another of bloody fist fights and shoot ’em ups. (I know. It’s a man thing.) Time after time, the cowboy or rancher enters a saloon, has a few drinks, someone insults him, and there they go again. Can’t a man figure it out that he should never go into a saloon? I told Larry that he must be sick to enjoy all that violence. Then something happened to me that made him smile. I got so I rather liked L’Amour’s ongoing short stories featuring Chick Bowdrie, Texas Ranger! And along the way, I learned a few things about the taming of the Wild West.

I ran out of reading material again this week, and not surprisingly, Larry had two more of L’Amour’s books! I really enjoyed reading “Conagher.” A particular passage caught my attention, and then what was exciting was that when Larry later came to that same passage, he said, “Listen to this, Mary,” and he read it aloud. It is about land:

Evie Teale had believed the land was her enemy, and she had struggled against it, but you could not make war against a land any more than you could against the sea. One had to learn to live with it, to belong to it, to fit into its seasons and its ways.

The land.

My father was a farmer and would get mad and cuss up a storm at little things, but when the tornado struck or the Little Sioux River flooded, he was quiet. I guess he understood what Evie had learned.

We always wanted land, and close to seven years ago, we bought our little place. It has been just as Evie realized. We have had years of plentiful rain, and years of drought. The spring frosts and freezes paid no attention to reason, as the wicked Stepmother Nature did as she pleased. Some things have flourished and some failed, but most of all, it has been quite an experience.

As I’ve said from the onset, “We don’t understand why we took on this adventure in our late 60s, but we did.” We bought the land not having any definite plans at the beginning. Then our latent dreams kicked in and we started planting and rebuilding almost feverishly. In L’Amour’s book, “The Ferguson Rifle,” I read this statement: When one begins, there is a certain impetus given by the fact of beginning. I’m thinking that explains it all.

Wicked Stepmother Nature at work again!