Something I learned about myself…

This summer, our family took two driving vacations.  One to Hill City, SD and one to N. Myrtle Beach, SC. Coincedentally, both were 15 hour drives but one was 15 min longer than the other. I loved both vacations because we got to see totally different areas of the country, but I have to say I fell in love with South Dakota. As we were driving across the state, I got to see what is to me, my ideal place to live.

I grew up in the Seattle area, surrounded by tall evergreen trees and mountains that had snow on them most of the year.  It’s a beautiful place, but it never made my heart sing. Lots of Seattleites complain about the gray winters and while they are admittedly awful, it was the close, claustrophobic feeling that made me uncomfortable. I didn’t identify that feeling until after we moved to Missouri and then visited back home about a year later. Very ironic considering that I’d spent the majority of my life feeling that way and never knowing it.  Those tall trees and mountains make me feel hemmed in. 

I felt my heart sing when we got to the National Grasslands in South Dakota. Here’s a picture for you. It’s not mine, I googled it, but I assure you the grasslands in person are as beautiful as this picture. 

You might think I’m nuts, but I love it that I can see for miles.  There are no big surprises in the grasslands, you can see storms coming from a ways off. If I were back in the 1880’s, I could see a posse coming for miles before they got to me.  And ironically, the open expanse makes me feel safe, secure and free.

As I was pondering this fact on the two trips, I was reminded of a favorite movie of mine. Australia, featuring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. It’s a favorite because it speaks to me on so many different levels. The love the heroine feels for a boy who wasn’t born to her, but nevertheless becomes a son, her pioneering spirit where she won’t take no for an answer and forges on despite overwhelming odds and lastly, the scenery.  I love the scene at the beginning where the boy is up on the tower and can see her car arriving while it was still far away.  I couldn’t find a movie still of that scene, so this photograph of the set will have to do.







So what did I learn about myself? 

I am a prairie girl. Forget the mountains, I love the expanse of blue sky with clouds moving on the wind and the blanket of grass laid at my feet that stretches for miles in all directions.

2 thoughts on “Something I learned about myself…”

  1. Natalie, I too find myself have a new found respect for the rolling hills of Nebraska where I grew up and spent the first 25 years of my life. “Beautiful Nebraska, peaceful prarie land. Full of rolling rivers and the hills of sand. Beautiful Nebraska Land.” That is a song we were taught during the elementary years of school. It wasn’t until after I fulfilled my desire to live in the big city that I could truly appreciate what I left behind. Not only seeing storms from far away but hearing the thunder roar accross the countryside. Beautiful music, likened to waves crashing on a beach. Peaceful, calming. Here in Missouri thunder is much louder as it bounces off the hills and numerous trees. I also love the varying colors the farmers paint the fields with their crops. gravel roads and old farmhouses. Things I never paid attention to as a kid rather considered the price of having to go to school in the “country”. The things we take for granted and don’t appreciate fully until we experiece something different.

    So my dear, we are kindred spirits in our new or refound love of the rolling hills of our beloved heartland. How can we not feel just a little closer to heaven when we can see to the east and west so clearly.

    Cheryl Murphy

  2. Wow! Well said, Natalie, well said. I could feel you breathing in all the open space that is South Dakota! It’s a wonderful feeling when you find a place that you can so totally relate to; a place where your heart sings. Thanks for sharing this revelation about yourself. God bless!

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