I am regularly amazed by the rich gifts of this old country. There are at least three reminders, as reliable as my own alarm clock, this time of year which can be counted on to reawaken my appreciation and blow away the blasé attitude the end of winter feeds.
The first is so routine we often fail to notice, much less remark on it. There is no more beautiful sight anywhere than sunrise over a juniper ridge, sparkling on the first blades of new grass or playing off the water and sand of the Brazos or Wichita Rivers. We are routinely so busy lining out our first appointment on the cell phone, fussing with the kids in the car, or scanning the horizon for highway patrolmen as we speed into the day that we fail to even notice this daily gift. For others sunrise just comes at such an inconvenient time! Fortunately, we’re blessed with a second chance for wonder. The consolation prize that can be seized an hour or so before sunset when the light is kindest, washing everything with a glow that makes the wheat look greener and thicker, the new calves softer and the coat of a horse shiny as new satin. If we can’t find time and thought to appreciate at least one of the two, perhaps we deserve to be punished with incarceration in a concrete jungle, stuck in a traffic jam, listening to a political talk show at those naturally glorious times of day.
The second awe inspiring gift of this home between the rivers is its rich renewal each spring. At the end of an over-washing brown winter, especially after a fall drought like this last one, which leaves us all looking at a cover of broom weed, counting down to the last hay bale and wondering if we’ll ever again see green comes the first spring rain. Without fail this country blooms overnight with renewed vigor, startling even the seasoned observer with the speed it turns green. Grass and crops seem to grow inches overnight. Old cows change from gnarly to glowing. Cantankerous customers on the street downtown grin and greet each other with renewed faith in God and mankind. Even wild hogs and white tail deer grazing on your crop land start to look good for a little while. My personal favorite season marker is little boys making wildflower bouquets for Mom. When Daddy takes time to cut the leaves off the bottom, tie it with a string from the cake sack and hunt up the Pepsi bottle to hold them, his patience and appreciation renewed as surely as the land by a little rain and the smell of growth and freshly turned dirt, only the crustiest of curmudgeons is left without a tear in the eye and catch in the throat.
The surest renewal of my own awe comes with the city visitors, most often escapees from the concrete jungle, I host each spring. They are truly amazed by the most mundane of activities and sights assigning great value to the rarity of our prairie, our dark skies, a bird song or the strutting of an old turkey. If you haven’t seen this world of ours through the eyes of an outsider, invite one soon and regain your own wonder!