The landscapes of your life

The first time I saw the prairie, I was struck by the vastness. It went on and on and on.
My husband-to-be had taken me to his home province of Saskatchewan to meet his parents. On the way, he stopped at some farmland he owned to check the crops.
He left me sitting in the parked car in the middle of the gravel road while he walked deep into the field.
It was night and I noticed headlights coming so I called out to warn him. “There’s a car coming!” I said with some alarm.
He casually answered, “It’ll be a long time before it gets here,” and went on surveying his crops.
I was terrified. But of course, he was right. Before the car came, we were well on our way. There had been no trees or hills to block the view.
Much later, after his parents had retired in the east, we drove through the rocks and hills of southern Ontario; and I remarked what beautiful country it was. My father-in-law was astonished and exclaimed, “You think this is beautiful country!!”
Yes, I did think it was beautiful country. But at the same time, I understood his love for the “amber waves of grain” in his prairie fields of Saskatchewan.
Make no mistake, my father-in-law loved trees. Having grown up in the east, he had lined the long driveway to his experimental farmstead with beautiful evergreens.
But when it came to beautiful country, he would take the prairie any time.
I, on the other hand, love the hills and curves of the northeastern U.S., where you usually can see no further than a quarter-mile. And if you see headlights coming toward you, you’d better get out of the way.
This was the landscape of my childhood and I associate many happy memories with winding roads, hills and valleys, and endless groves of sugar maple and majestic pines.
But today, I live in the flat prairie environment of the Great Plains. And I’ve learned to love the open beauty of grass and sky, and especially the glorious sunsets.
In this season of growth and harvest, it’s good to stop and think about the landscapes of your life. How has your journey through different landscapes influenced you?
What have you chosen to take with you from the landscapes you’ve encountered? Are there special memories associated with your favorite landscape?
In her book “The Inward Garden,” Julie Moir Messervy uses the concept of journey as she designs gardens.
“Our lives are composed of journeys: we drive to work, wander in the forest, or simply amble around the block. In a good journey, the psyche is altered, the soul refreshed, the senses reinvigorated.”
So it is as we travel through memories of the landscapes that have influenced us. Challenge yourself to take that journey. Then determine how you can bring the best of those memories alive today.
It may be as simple as throwing a few larkspur seeds into the garden to bring back memories of your grandmother’s flowerbed.
It’s summer! And time to celebrate the beautiful landscapes that have been part of your life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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