Monday, January 14, 2013
It wasn't ridiculously cold, but it was dang close. What's more, the wind--bitterly northwest--was of that genre that threatens to peel back your skin like something torturous, something out of the Inquisition. I wore my down jacket for the first time this winter, the fatso with an Eskimo hood. When the two of us walked west toward the river, we kept reminding ourselves that it would soon be better because we'd be in the haven of woods, walking down paths where only the temps were wearying. Take the wind out of the equation, as every Siouxlander knows, and single-digits are actually livable.
So here we are, in the woods along the river. I'm behind the camera, and that yellow coat way up front belongs my waltzing partner through the trees. Just one of the myriad terrors of living on the plains--if you were a sodhouse paleface in those earliest years--was the overwhelming sense of exposure, never-ending vulnerability. There was a lot of craziness--I'm not making that up--all that yawning land and a vast ocean of grass, only an occasional cloud to hide you. No trees--save a few around the rivers and streams--like here. From high overhead, the world I live in is clearly pockmarked by shadowy groves planted as barriers to wind, a sea of darkened smudges on the endless earth. Trees are still much loved.
Friday we did our obligatory two miles amid them, down by the river. We're out of it there, out of the inhuman wind, and even on frozen snow an afternoon walk through the trees is a blessing.
It still feels chance-y to admit it, but I guess I can: we've decided to live here. We've been in this wonderful new old house for a half year, and neither of us wants to move; but move we must--the owner is a'comin. He's no fool. He'll like it here too, I'm sure.
But we're not moving far. We're moving up the road to a place where there is no place right now. Neither of us would have ever guessed we'd be doing what we're doing, but we are--we're building a house.
It's been a while since I've given the kind of morning thanks that I wanted to make a daily ritual a half-dozen years ago when this blog began, but this morning is a good time to reclaim an original purpose because, as this shot in the woods make clear, we're blessed to be here. I'm thankful this morning for the ground where we live, and the woods and the river and all that open beautiful country we'll feast on with our eyes for as long as the Lord chooses to allow us such bountiful blessings.
We're staying, and for that I'm thankful. We both are.