I'm Looking For That Word ...

May 25, 2018

My wife and I talk about moving someday, but I wonder if I can.

This would be like no other move. Likely several states away, to be closer to our boys. Maybe grandkids.

Still … I feel grounded here. Like my feet are anchored with some kind of natural connection.

Roots. After nearly 70 years their grip has grown deep. I feel a tug, like a leash, reminding me where I came from. I have a kinship with this territory.

Could I give it a label? Maybe. The Midwest? Or better, the prairie … but that stretches over many states. I need a better word.

I don’t have to travel far to find evidence of the prairie — the rich soil, tall grasses, oaks and pines. The arrowheads my dad and I found left by those who lived with this land — not on it.

Some say this landscape is boring. The green waves of corn and soybeans. Everywhere. And I get that. But I still find comfort and less tension when I am surrounded by fields that produce that annual miracle.

Cruising sloping, curvy roads, I find myself transfixed by leaning barns. I still admire the royalty of a hawk on the wire and spend too much time scanning fields for deer or coyotes.

I’m like most, I guess, by seeing more weeds than prairie plants. We plant some of that natural history, when we can, but I spend more time yanking thistles from my yard.

My wife reminds me to pull it all — get the roots. Tear out the roots and it dies.

Now I'm thinking maybe there is one word for this land where I grew up, where my roots hold me steady. And jerking them out — all the way out — might be painful.

Because now I’m thinking, maybe that one word is “home.”

I’m Lonny Cain, and that’s my Perspective.