Creatures of the Bottom of the Sky

I’ve been on the road again in the last few days, skirting the edges of South Dakota and Iowa on my way to Nebraska and back again, driving back through Iowa and southern Minnesota.   As I drive from state to state, I marvel at the prairie scenes I see — rolling hills, river valleys, places where the land is flat, trees planted around home places years ago, vast fields of corn and soybeans, now being harvested. It reminds me of something I read years ago. The writer talked about three kinds of life on earth: creatures that fly and soar in the air; creatures that live in the water; and then the group that we belong to — creatures of the bottom of the sky.

When I get out into the landscape of Prairie Star District, I become aware again that we are indeed creatures of the bottom of the sky. Gazing from horizon to horizon with a huge sky overhead, or looking down a long hill on the highway that goes on for miles ahead of me, I feel very much like a creature of the bottom of the sky. Having grown up in South Dakota, I find the landscape to be familiar and comforting.

I’ll head out again tomorrow to join our ministers at their retreat at Shalom Hill Farm, near Windom, MN. I doubt that I could call driving a spiritual discipline. But I do find nourishment for my soul as I go about the District, driving from place to place and waiting for the view that’s just beyond the hill.

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