Monday, August 2, 2010


Pull up a chair and relax. Let me tell you a story...

It's August in the midwest. The days are hot. Corn is tall and reaches hungrily for the sun.

Train tracks cover the hills that surround my home - reminding me of days gone past.

Trains hold a special place in my heart.

My great grandparents had train tracks in front of their front yard. When I was small, when my family would visit, I'd wake in the middle of the night to the windows rumbling as the trains drove by. The sound of trains has always been soothing to me, reminding me of my grandmother's big old house. I can still smell her house, hear her laugh, see her sipping tea in the kitchen.

One day, my great grandmother led me out in front of her house to the tracks. With great mystery, I watched her lay a bright new penny on the shiny track. Then we would wait for the roar of the horn, and the rumble of the windows.

I ran outside to find Lincoln on my penny smashed flat and smooth, still warm from the weight of countless wheels crossing over it. A special penny. A lucky penny.

Maybe it's no accident that there are train tracks all around the new ranch.

I hear them in the distance now. But they are still soothing to my soul. It feels like I belong here.

Trains are such a cornerstone for the U.S.: from their literal history of transporting goods from one side of the country to the other, to employing hundreds at the turn of the century, and, even today, to the graffiti that tells another story from another side of our society.

And trains are a cornerstone of my childhood.

The hills that surround the new ranch tell many stories.

An old barn a few miles from the new ranch

I can't help but wonder what went on around here. Farms and valleys roll like tapestries in the distance in either direction, telling stories of years of arms hardened from field work.

Wild flowers grow here.

Wild-growing sweet pea near the train tracks by the new ranch

I look forward to writing our own chapter in these hills and valleys.


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