Recently I made a quick trip to St. Louis for a one day seminar. The workshop was fantastic, but even more so, the scenery along the way was moving…
Without our noticing exactly when, the fields spread out for miles around us. Flat, so flat, and spreading on and on, fencerows hard to spot in the vast open space. Here and there, the farmhouses were large and welcoming, yet dwarfed by the barns and outbuildings that circled them, seemingly for protection rather than convenience, like wagon trains at night.
The giant church buildings were planted firmly, alone in the distance, raising steeples to the sky in thanks to the Great Provider, calling the weary workers to come and be filled. Racing along beside us we saw the long train on the horizon. It streamed along, in its entirety, not in bits and pieces. You don’t see the full expanse of one in the hills of home.
We saw the dams that made Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, churning electrical power, and the long bridge over the broad Ohio River, and at last, the mighty Mississippi. The arch in St. Louis was right there, its simple design symbolic of so much, past and future. It was not situated on the prairie – with the imagined desert-surrounded Alamo of my dreams – but guiding the visitor’s eye from the water into a bustling city, and causing me to wonder if Lewis and Clark ever stood in the actual place I was traveling over.
The peace and solitude, the loneliness, the energy, the toil it must take to manage those lands. How timely that this trip occurred on Super Bowl weekend, with the words of Paul Harvey’s moving tribute cementing my observations into memory:
“God said, ‘I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark.’ So God made a farmer.”
Blessings to those who have made this land a special, unforgettable place.