My new position in SW Kansas allows me to drive at least twice a week from Ulysses to Liberal and Garden City, so the artist within me joys in the beauty I find as I go. From moment to moment the light shifts, causing the colors of the prairie to blend with one another and to change from mauve to golden, to peach, to cobalt to silver, endlessly shifting throughout the day. And as I go along, I see remnants from older days, such as this farmstead between Ulysses and the junction with 83.
I love to see these homesteads, and to consider where the house would have been, and where would the barn and the windmill have been. Sometimes you can see where some pioneer brought a root or a a cutting from a treasured plant that reminded her of the home she had left, had planted it, watered it, and caused it to become established. Despite drought, blizzard and scorching winds, the plant has survived.
Yesterday I saw such a treasure. Look closely, and on the left of this group of surviving trees and shrubs, you will see a white lilac. Here is a closer view. After the blessed rains we have been having, it is in full bloom. If anyone knows who owns this property, please tell me, because I am planning to try to propagate this from cuttings and seeds, but would love to ask permission to dig a piece of the root this winter if the other efforts fail, and would be happy to share with them, if I am successful.
These treasures from the pioneers are precious, for they remind us of where our own roots lie. Where we are today has much to do with where we have come from. We are a culture of survivors, stubbornly rooted in the soil, our taproots reaching all the way down to the Living Waters. We don’t ask for help unless we need it, but we know life can be hard, and so are generous in helping others before it is asked. We look for beauty wherever we are, and we find it all around us.