Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Healing Years

Our country home on 10 acres
Twenty years ago we packed our belongings and moved to Hutchinson, Ks.  We left behind our youngest son and daughter, friends, family, and friends. Even though I fell in love with new friends, country fields, and sand dunes during those eighteen years we lived in Kansas, I could not revisit our land east of Norman where the healing took place.  We came home often for family events and football, but never once drove east on highway 9 to 108th street.  We never turned down Baltic avenue to see what changes the new owners of our ten acres might have made; we never once drove to the parks to walk through the trails lined with black jack oaks, sumac bushes, and worn down rose rocks. We never once set foot on the land that Washington Irving called the "crosstimbers."  It simply hurt too much.

Retirement offered us the time to return to Oklahoma, but not to our land. A home in town, close to family is where we need to be at this time in life. Last spring, I drove my mother-in-law out to see the historic flooding around Thunderbird Dam, and then with a deep breath I turned north on 108th, west on Lindsey, and north on Baltic. A gate stood at the entrance to their winding drive down the sumac lined hill to the tri-level native stone home. A tear trickled down my cheek. What were they keeping out, I wondered? Still I couldn't write about it.

I found this picture two weeks ago while helping my sister clean out the clutter.  Seeing the happiness on our faces must have been touch magic, my heart opened, and I felt refreshed with the memories, the sharing could begin. 

It was the openness of the land that created the healing energy I needed when we moved to the country in 1990. In 1988 our daughter, left home angrily creating her own path; Jack's father died on Land Run day, and gaps and voids began to
fill my heart. A year later in 1989 my mother died suddenly in August; my father died of a broken heart eight weeks later.  Everyone, from family and friends to children at school, stepped in to help; to love; to hug; to hold; but broken hearts take time to heal.

In time our daughter found her way home, and back to the land where she felt secure. Our boys began the explore their life journeys. Jack and I found solace in the land, in the
colors of nature, during the seasons of change, alongside the deer, bobcats, birds, and snakes. Walking paths created by the animals widened as two people walked them daily searching for answers. 

The animals, the trees, the grasses shared their space with us, and likewise we shared our space with others.  Friends often came out in late evenings and weekends to sit on the back deck or walk serenely down the hill, through the ravine, across the rocks where waters ran in the spring, or up the hill to a patch of wild flowers growing in the sunlight.

One day we discovered a pile of left over

native stones hidden at the top of the hill near the water well. One by one Jack and I carried the stones down the hill to the back yard where he built a garden around a tree.In time grasses grew where once red clay soil baked in the sun.  A soft cushioned swing hung from a tree, and a hammock floated between two trees giving a starlit view of the summer meteorite showers. 

Like the stones carried down the hill, one by one, our hearts began to heal. Color came back into our lives filling us with laughter and creating flowing peaceful moments. When my mind closed down and depression set in, nature rose to my rescue. She showed me a washed out area of land that held the remains of worn but recognizable rose rocks. Often I sat on a the land and picked up rose rocks,

admired their beauty and forgot why I was sad. One evening at sunset, I came face to face with buck on the same path as I. My heart raced, he held firm and then like a flash of lightning leaped down the ravine. Tears of awe and joy ran down my face and filled my heart with peace.

Late one night, when my mother might have said, It's too late, don't go walking out there, I went walking out there. Led by the dog who adopted us, Black Bart, I started up the hill through scrub oaks and fallen logs. Suddenly, Bart stood sideways on the path and stopped my advance. I heard the growl and scream from the bushes nearby. The dog and I turned running. He beat me to the driveway and once again stood sideways like a

motionless shadow on a moonless night with his nearly invisible long black hair. I never saw him until I plowed into him, flew into the air, and rolled down the incline into the drive way. Startled and dirty, I lay on the driveway while the dog licked me, and assured me we were safe from the mother bobcat and her kit.

Though sometimes bruised from trips and falls, I healed in those five comforting country years. Now each day the birds outside remind me to be mindful of the healing powers of nature.

The Seven Sisters.


  1. Oh, Letty. I feel that way about a place I left a few years ago. Can't go back. lc

  2. I also find peace and solace in nature...a place where my spirituality lives and thrives. Thanks for sharing. db

  3. Wonderful story, Letty. Thank you. am

  4. Very beautiful. sh