“To anyone else this little plot of land probably looks like a dull Kansas hillside: A grass covered hill, a mossy pond, a grove of tangled, old Osage Orange trees, and a small meadow full of weeds. But the land called to me like an old friend with a delectable secret to share. I was meant to live here even if it was a totally illogical purchase…”
Thus begins a lyrical journey to a neglected piece of land in northeastern Kansas.
Preface to A Still Place:
Near my childhood home, there was a cow pasture where I spent hours playing. A deeply rutted dirt track crossed the pasture; it emerged from the woods and snaked its way through the grass and continued on into the next pasture. The track meandered its way through one field after another as far as I could see, heading west.
My older brother told me that the dirt track had been part of the Santa Fe Trail and I half believed him. I wanted to believe that something as romantic as the famous Santa Fe Trail passed through my life. I would sit high in my favorite tree on the edge of the pasture and try to imagine who might have walked that trail and where they had been heading. I pictured myself taking such a journey someday. That rutted dirt track represented the ultimate journey to me; to put aside everything you know and venture out into wild uncharted territory with only a vague notion of where you would end up.
This book of essays is about my own journey years later and miles away from that rutted dirt track. It grew out of journals I kept during the seven years that I lived on three acres of grassland and woods in northeastern Kansas. This writing is my first foray into wild uncharted territory. Instead of exploring rivers and deserts and crossing mountains, I explore three small acres and my own inner landscape.
Like the travelers before me, I find both joy and sorrow on the trail. There are times when I want nothing better than to end my journey, to run away and hide from what my pen has discovered. Yet the trail keeps calling me back, whispering of new sights and adventures just over the next hill.
I hope you enjoy this little travelogue of mine…