August 29 – A Slice of Prairie Heaven

by Carol Kunnerup

The end of July and the farmland surrounding us is still lush due to the  unusually heavy rains and humidity this year. The crops got in late, but with
the rain and warm weather harvest will go on as planned.

The skies have been amazing sunrise to sunset and I am working in the studio to render them in fabric or watercolor. They are just so gorgeous and contrast so fantastically with the greens, yellows, browns and reds of the surrounding land. And stormy skies, don’t get me started. Everything in nature just naturally
coordinates.

The creeks and low lands are full of water, still. Not flooding, but full. Blue sapphires set in the golden prairie are home to turtles and frogs and other creatures I have yet to name. I need to go get a field guide. There  are a variety of colors of dragon flies, orange/gold and gorgeous blue. An assortment of biting flies and insects also populate the grassy wet lands.

The air is warm and some afternoons it gets downright hot. We had one wicked
hot day, the humidity was 100% plus the 96 degree temp made it quite the day for air conditioning. Standing outside for even a few minutes felt like just getting
out of the shower. Most days, though, have not been so extreme. It has been a
lovely summer for walking and exploring and just enjoying being where we
are.

This is the most rural of the 29 addresses I have to my name. Rolling
hills and prairie as far as you can see surround our little farmstead. From our
porch we can see the shadows, the shapes of other buildings, but none are close
enough for any detail to be discerned. A neighbor, or we, could be standing on
the porch in our underwear and no one would ever know. Maybe I need binoculars, haha.

68th St SW is a running stitch through the prairie. We have the only
mailbox on this five-mile stitch. We are 8.5 miles from town. It is peaceful and
gives the illusion of isolation. Living without close neighbors is a good thing.
We are granted solitude.

Three calves keep us company in a small pasture on the property. They are invited guests. Native inhabitants who tolerate us are rabbits, ground squirrels, pheasant, meadowlark, hawks, gigantic owls and we spotted a buzzard the other day. I need that field guide because there are so many birds I cannot name that share this space with us. We have yet to see snakes on the property.

It is time to hit the treadmill. Why you may ask, do I hit the treadmill, when I have thousands of miles of infrequently traveled gravel roads to walk? Well, I get my work out on the treadmill. I meander and daydream and just exist and absorb on walkabouts through the prairies. It is  awesome to be only in your own skin and in the moment out in the natural world.

I am a mother, a wife and a woman who is rediscovering her artist within. I have lived many places and find that my home is always with me; my children and my husband are the heart of me. We are in North Dakota on a lovely farmstead. I teach preschool and am working towards my masters in special education.

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2 responses to “August 29 – A Slice of Prairie Heaven

  1. Carol, you make the prairie sound mesmerizing. I recently read MY RUBY SLIPPERS by Tracy Seeley. Although she wrote specifically about discovering the glories of Kansas, most of her message would also apply to its northern neighbors. Your post confirms this. I hope you’ll write again and tell us what it’s like in mid-January! Her visits to Kansas were all in the summer.

  2. A prairie, a field, or a little woods appears quiet and peaceful, but only when living next to them can a person discern the variety of life thriving there, and the movements within stillness.

    You’re right about the treadmill, too. I do the same— serious walking on a treadmill, and spiritual walking in nature.

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