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Belonging






Although it is a holiday weekend, I look forward to a quiet weekend at home without any social interaction, no hustle and bustle, and a return to normalcy. As I get older, I take more comfort in routine, home, and calmness. Part of my daily routine is my early morning walk with my four-footed soulmate, Buster. I must say, of all the things I missed while away from home, Buster was the one I missed the most. The Heavy-B, who has new raps made up about him, his handsomeness, his intelligence, and his overall wonderfulness on a daily basis, loves his walk with me. I am thrilled that Buster’s daily walks led to a twenty-five-pound weight loss for my chunky canine bestie. I wish I could report the same success for myself, but alas, I think I gained his lost weight.


Yesterday, we walked before sunrise. My bib overall wearing wonder buns is kind enough to mow a path for our daily treks. Most of my walk is surrounded by trees as well as corn and hay fields. Buster’s favorite pass time is chasing deer, turkeys, and other unsuspecting wildlife out of the cornfield. Perhaps if I ran amuck through the cornfield, I would lose twenty-five pounds too. However, I find cornfields innately creepy and avoid going into them at all costs. Yesterday, while walking in the fog, drizzle, and gloomy mist, my beloved farm took on an otherworldly feeling. It was not exactly a creepy feeling, but it was more intimidating and mysterious than when the sun was brightly shining high in the sky.


Have you ever visited a place or spent time in a place and wondered what events occurred long before you were ever there? Yesterday, this occupied my mind as I walked with my four-legged best friend in the mist. From stories my dad told, I know there was a strong Native American presence here at some point. My dad said that when he was a boy, he and his brothers would comb the freshly plowed fields collecting arrowheads. As a child, I remember his coffee can filled with arrowheads he had collected over the years. This, along with a coffee can of wheatback pennies, was one of his treasures from childhood. I wish I had access to those treasures now. I would have them professionally framed and display them as part of our farm’s history. However, I digress. Yesterday, as I trudged through the fields and woods, my mind wandered to places of the past. I questioned what people were there before me. What daily tasks were performed? What tragedies and triumphs befell those who came here? With an active imagination, I could almost envision Native American people hunting what would have been a forest. I imagined a long-gone dirt road busy with foot traffic and horse-drawn wagons. I know from historical documents and my dad that there was a one-room schoolhouse on the edges of our property. What adventures did those children have in the woods I hold so dear? Sadly, aside from old county maps and history books, I will probably never know the answers to any of these questions.


As Buster and I broke from the low-hanging mist into the openness of the hayfield, it felt like a spell had been broken. As I viewed the farm from the back of the property, I realized how strongly I feel connected to this place and, when I think about it, I always have. I lived in a tiny cottage at the end of the lane until I was four. Throughout my life, I returned to this place with my dad, who also felt a deep connection. Even as a young adult, I would walk the fields and trees, exploring, discovering, and imagining myself living here with my family. I imagined the changes I would make, the life I would lead, and always it was here.


After spending three long weekends away, I have a new appreciation for my home, this land, and what it means to my family. I hope my bean feels the same connection to this land. I pray she walks with us and imagines her life here, the changes she will make, and the overwhelming gratitude for this place we call home. I experienced an overwhelming sense of rightness in my world—a feeling of being exactly where I was meant to be and a feeling of home. I hope, dear reader, you experience this feeling as well. Everyone deserves to feel content, happy, and grateful. This is my wish for you today and every day.


As always, stay safe, be smart, may you feel contentment, belonging, and connected, and of course, keep washing your hands.

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