Owning a piece of the same homestead that my ancestors settled makes me a steward of this earth. Like my parents and grandparents, there are days when I am sweaty and exhausted from good honest work in the soil; there are days when I sit in my cushioned chair on the deck admiring the clouds. I am fortunate to have ”one foot in the city” and “one foot on the farm.”
breezy and cool April day, I rounded up a willing friend to attend a music
concert in the south range of the Kansas Flint Hills.For a number of years a ranching couple has
granted access to their pasture in support of local college music groups and invites
the community to enjoy a spring performance.It is also a celebration of the treasured prairie remnant we have in the
Flint Hills and is therefore called “South Kansas Symphony: On the Prairie.”
pasture is hilly and rocky, but as the creek has cut through the land it has
formed a low valley protected from the wind.At the north end, the creek cut deep and left a background of rock which
serves as a natural amphitheater.With a
little help from man, the symphony sat under a canvas dome protected
from the wind with better directed sound.
Families brought all manner of lawn chairs, blankets and picnics and filled
the small valley.On a Sunday
afternoon, folks enjoyed the Tallgrass Express String Band, the youth
symphony and the South Kansas Symphony made up of adults.Many of the children wandered onto
the hillside where Stan Herd's "Prairie Man" is laid out with stones on two acres of the ranch. It is still visible, as is Herd's stone labyrinth.
I had my camera with me, and although I was not hopeful of great pictures on
this cloudy day, I ventured up the hill. As I approached the rocky climb,
I could see massive cumulative clouds above us and the sun again passed behind
them. As it did, the gnarled form of an Osage orange tree was framed perfectly
for admiration. Normally, I couldn’t shoot into the sun, but the cloud favored
me with an ideal shot. As I hiked the path, the opportunities were
repeated as I watched children and families enjoying the land. One group
played some form of soccer, another was flying a kite; children jumped from
rock to rock, gathered chert to take home or picked tiny wildflowers. The
photos I took were unusual that day. I had captured the day in silhouette
and the photos were beautiful.
There was a lesson for me in that
day. I was tempted to not take the camera on that walk and wait for a
sunny day. But what I was lucky enough to capture gave me joy. The
question really isn’t “When am I going to get a sunny day?” but rather, “What
can I do with the light given me?”
The Bonfy Ranch
I saw families that were creating a wonderful day with the light given
them. Whether they played on stage, jumped from rock to rock, or flew a
kite, they were enjoying the day. I didn’t see one baby in a stroller.
All were on the blankets playing or being carried around by Grandpa. In
fact, families used strollers to carry the gear and the babies walked along
enjoying the temptations of rocks and leaves.
The day I am getting today is the very best I are going to get at this
moment. I must learn not to miss it and remember that it is not a matter
of getting better light; it is what I choose to do with the light I am given.
Psalm 118: 24 “This is
the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”