Friday, July 10, 2015

Little Thoughts on the Prairie

Some days I run just to clear my mind. To escape from my thoughts.

But today I cannot out run them.

I run on “my” little prairie for its solitude and beauty. The summer wildflowers are now blooming.

The challenge of the grassy trail and the relentless hills require concentration. I am “all in”.

Until I'm not.

After a mile and a half I slow to round a corner and my thoughts overtake me, crashing over and crushing me, as the humid air wraps around me in a claustrophobic hug.

I have no choice.

I stop.

The warm energy of the Iowa summer-time green growth seeps into my muscles, even as it sucks the life from my bones.

I'm caught.

I wonder: If I lay down on the trail and stay still long enough, will the prairie absorb me? Will I become part of this wild green?

I've stopped at one of my favorite places. The view here is vast and sweeping. The prairie teems with life. The air vibrates with the hum of industrious bugs. Bird songs ring high and twee. Rabbits dart across the trail. The tall grass is restless in the wind.

And yet it's so wide open – here on this small patch – that I feel isolated and lonely. I marvel at the pioneers' determination and drive. Imagine crossing this small patch a thousand times over!

I give up. I give in. Admit defeat.

I turn off my runner's watch.

Ignore miles and time and pace.

I walk.

I jog.

I lay down and let the prairie take me.

I breath.

I grieve.

I accept.


  1. Joanne, my sympathy to you and your family on the passing of your mother. July 20 is/would have been my mother's 100th birthday. She died at 89 after several years of slow decline in a care facility. A relative suggested that my daily visits were a bit much. No...they were a loving homage, an honor. I find your tribute very moving.

    Your blog is bookmarked and I check in often for a chuckle, a moment of empathy, maybe even a rowdy epiphany! Keep writing.--Joann Estle (The junior high component of your IWC/Columbus Junction student teaching escapade.)

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Mrs. Estle! Of course I remember you! I thought of you often over the last year and a half when I taugh a -- just one at a time! -- junior high class! They can be such a challenge, or so rewarding (usually within the same 45-min. class), and so exhausting!