Monday, April 4, 2016

Walking The Land

There is something about the West that has always drawn me.  It is not just because my husband wears cowboy boots, vests, denim shirts, and a great Stetson hat.  No, it is much more.  I love the way the land presents itself.....both barren and beautiful at the same time.  We have lived out west in Utah, New Mexico and Montana and I lived as a child in South Dakota so we are familiar with western landscapes. Each place had it's own beauty to offer.  After returning from Montana to the Minnesota in 1983 we mourned the loss of living in the West for a long time.  It was not just the people, even though they were great.  It was not just the mountains and their majestic beauty, since we did not live near the Rockies.  It was the land.  The history embedded in the land. The pioneer spirit is there ~~independent, rugged, persevering.  We have only been back to visit Montana one time, mostly due to my past health issues, but memories are held close to our hearts.

I am attracted to places like The Pioneer Woman's BLOG, not for the recipes, but for her stories and photos of their life in Oklahoma.  I find it all intriguing.  Wide open spaces, hard work, and a satisfied life.  At least that is how I see it.  Joel and I both like the West.  If we believed in reincarnation, we would be thinking we were once pioneers out west, but since we do not, I think that maybe the beauty of the West, the history the land holds, and our good memories are what pull us in.  I expect it is one of the reasons we liked Gold Canyon AZ so much.  It certainly would not be due to it being near Phoenix.  Gold Canyon sits on the edge, nestled between the Superstition Mountains and the suburbs of that over populated desert city.  There is a rugged beauty to be found there in the green desert.

The land out West draws us.  There are also other places the land calls to us,  but in different ways.  Joel's childhood home and land is familiar and holds history.  In fact we will be buried in the cemetery next to the church where he grew up.  Just a quarter mile from the home farm seventeen Dahlens are buried, so far.  The lakes, rolling hills, and farm fields  where Joel spent his whole childhood bring forth an emotional response.  We are also drawn to the land and front porch of one of our families.  A porch that gives us a view of the flat fields and roads for miles, bringing us a sense of peace and quiet.  Far from town, it holds generations of history that you can sense deep in your soul.  I am grateful that our three treasures there will have that history for themselves and can look back at who walked the land before them.

In our years of moving, the 22 plus moves we have experienced around the country and overseas to the Philippines, our children missed out on putting down any deep roots, and so did we.  But as adults they have each found a place for themselves.....a land where they left footprints that brings them peace and a sense of "here is where we belong".  After a few years of "wandering" they walked the land God gave them and put down roots. They are living out God's purpose for their lives on their own soil and we are so grateful for that.

Do you feel drawn to your own land, a land you have walked on where you held the soil in your hands? Many have done so.  One blogger friend shares amazing photographs of the beauty surrounding her from their home in rural Wisconsin.  Another shares the stunning view she has from her home of a proud towering mountain in Washington state.  Another speaks of their home in the mountains of California. Yet another, city life, vibrant and alive to her.  Each place is as unique as the people who share their stories.  Each one says...."we have come home"......

I cannot express fully the connections between the land, God, and our own need for roots, but as I read Christie Purifoy's book, "Roots and Sky" and as I have read the comments on her blog, this need for roots in a land God has provided resonates with so many people.  This is beyond the desire for roots in the eternal.  It is the need to be able to "walk the land" and know that you know that you know where you belong here on earth.  I believe that sometimes we choose the land and sometimes the land chooses us.

Do you know what my hope and prayer is for each of you, for all of us who desire to walk the land?
That we have found or will find our own place to walk during our journey on earth, where we have dug deep into the soil, put down roots and feel at rest.  A place where our dreams and God's purpose for our life have united together to create the peace and quiet our souls longed for.  A place where we realize "we have come home".

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Oh my, this was beautiful, Renee. The need for roots, and a feeling for the land, it's so important. I know that my husband and I have a real *feel* for our land. We feel privileged to "own" it, and feel a responsibility to care for it as its stewards. Hubby regularly "walks the perimeter" - and keeps track of how the land is doing. Especially after snow and storms. We feel as if God has entrusted us for a time to take care of this portion of His world.

Of course, my real roots are in heaven, and this is my true home.

But it's really nice to feel connected to the place where we walk out our faith journey. I'm grateful for our home, for our surroundings, and for the beauty of God's earth.