Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tribute to the Bluff #3: Deep Roots

Dawn signals the arrival of each day's sun approaching just behind the mountain range. I have a clear view from the bluff. Like clockwork the sky lights up in an array of blue and orange colors. The sign of a new day. I've seen many days come and go.  

I've lived here a long time. Don't know how old I am. My roots are deep here.  They keep me stable and secure, especially when the brisk wind blows along the bluff. Or the thunder storms rattle my limbs.

I've seen the changes here on the bluff. From an untouched vast land to an occupied residence. Two - Dad & Mom- who then become a family of four with Son and Daughter.

Dad works hard on the land.  While others sleep, he walks the pasture in his black irrigation boots and a shovel in hand; moving water to quench the ground's thirst. He is up with the moon many times throughout the night. His toiling is the result of green pasture for his livestock. Irrigating season is long, and Idaho is dry. He is up early in the winter season too; supplementing the pasture grass with bails of hay.  He beckons his sleepy herd with a familiar sound, "Sa-boss! Sa-boss!" Steers and heifers form a single file line down the cow path they've created over the years. Their breath visible by the cold morning air. They recognize his voice and know his call. I saw the hours he spent pounding steel posts into the ground and building barbwire fencing around the property. I saw the piles of wood being chopped, hauled, and stacked to keep his family warm during cold nights.  I saw ditches shoveled and burned to help water flow. It was his to care for.

Mom spent much time working the land too. Hours in the garden, preparing the land to produce a harvest of corn, radishes, peas, carrots, and beans. She put her two children to work, picking raspberries. I watched as she planted trees and bushes around their home, weeding flower beds, arranging rocks and stepping stones, and staging antique artifacts around the front of the house. She too wasn't afraid of hard work, working along side her husband; willing to put in the hard work it takes to make a life for yourself and your family. 

(Mom giving Son & Daughter a horseback ride. Evidence of the old oak tree behind.)

Son and Daughter were active, riding their motorcycles up and down the long driveway, trying to go as fast as they could; hitting the breaks before running into the barbwire fence at the end of the lane. During the summer months, it was their 4-H cows they walked down the lane, training them for upcoming local fairs. 

Daughter used the pasture as her driver's training.  She had the choice of two small Datsun cars (one yellow, the other blue).  The pasture became her range to practice turns, shifting, and parking. 

The land invited its dwellers to explore, to try new things and master skills, experience the pride of hard work, learn the lessons of responsibility, find boredom can be turned into creative imaginations. I watched as the family enjoyed special traditions - the excitement of corralling the horses early Easter morning and hauling them to the sunrise service on horseback. 

The land aided in producing roots for this family. A safe nurturing place to dwell, to be themselves, and grow up developing deep roots to the bluff, which gave them stability and strength to carry on.

While I saw the joys of living on the bluff, I also saw sorrow. Son's heart break when he learned that his dearest companion and friend, Sonny, a beautiful sorrel horse, had to be put down due to a leg injury. A very difficult decision for a young man to make. He raised and trained Sonny as a young colt. He loved him.

Daughter too felt the pains of grief. I can remember the night, seeing her standing on the edge of the bluff overlooking Linder Road. She experienced death for the first time as she looked down to see her horse, Bunny, lying in the middle of the road surrounded by people, lights, and police cars. Bunny had been hit by a car - sadly, two lives lost. Bunny was pregnant.  The next day Mom told Daughter not to go outside because Bunny was still there.  Daughter could not resist and snuck out to say good-bye to Bunny one last time.  She slowly crept around the side of the bluff so her mom couldn't see her through the kitchen window.  As she peeked around the corner, there her precious friend lay lifeless.  The little girl cried tears of great loss, nothing she ever experienced before, feelings of sadness, anger, and confusion all wrapped up together. There the Daughter laid with her body resting against the side of the bluff, curled up with her knees to her chest, weeping out loud for things to be different. 

As the dawn signals the sunrise, dusk cues the sunset and invites life to rest and work to end.  Each day's events and activities form whom we become. The storm winds come, but our roots bury deep into the soil of the land where we dwell, keeping us strong and steady. Son and Daughter have since grown and left the bluff.  Dad and Mom sold the piece of property they worked and toiled for 36 years. 

The land was just as much home for this family as the house built on it. 

Today my view is obstructed from the visual alarm of each morning's sunrise, but I still have first class seating when twilight begins and the sun says good-bye for another day. I can recall many evenings of Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter enjoying the same show I still enjoy today. They grabbed a popsicle from the garage freezer and stretched out on their freshly mowed grass to pause and take in the amazing sunset display. 

No matter what happened on the bluff that day, the evidence in the sky of a good, loving Creator always held true, making the bluff a sacred place where roots grow deep.

-The Oak Tree