Friday, July 6, 2007

The People, Not the Land

Thank you to those who responded to my Appeal. I will begin by responding to the question, "Why do you live where you do?" It was posed by both Rodney Olsen and Incognito.

What seems a simple question
Is actually quite complex;
It is one that each should give some thought
Although it might well vex.

The question is what led you
To the land where you now live?
What brought you to this wondrous place
That takes the time you give?

My answer starts with ancestors
Of hardy pioneer stock
Who came out west in earlier times
Than this in which we walk.

My roots reach out to Scotland
Through Georgia and Oklahoma
And from Virginia through Kentucky
And the Ozarks of Missouri.

Each branch eventually converging
In these Plains of endless view
Where to my young parents
Came me, brand spanking new.

I grew up here on these open plains
That stretch as far as eye can see.
I grew to love the emptiness
That made me feel so free.

But then I left and went to school
In a very different place.
It was down in Central Texas
Where I was just another face.

I missed the wind -- it never blew.
I felt smothered by the humidity.
And almost everyone I met
Had grown up in a city.

I felt pressed upon at every turn
Like sardines in a can.
I needed space to get away
Where I could breathe again.

And so upon my settling down
I came back to the plains
And started a family
In this land of infrequent rains.

Eventually, as time went by
My work made me to move
First to Kansas and then the city
Where I never found my groove.

From DFW to Nebraska
We packed our things once more.
Then finally back to Texas
We set foot on friendly shore.

We were home. All was well.
It felt right again you see.
We live here now because
It's where God means for us to be.

It's not the open spaces
Or the wind that ever blows
That makes this Panhandle
The place where our heart grows,

It's the people. It's the family.
It's the friendly open hand
Of the folks that are life's blessing.
It's the people, not the land.


WomanHonorThyself said...

aw come out east with your lovely wife and fam ...spend some time with us in our sardine can!..haha...very nice sweet Poet! :)

MotherPie said...

Lovely poem about place. We're where we are because we dreamed about keeping connections here (New Mexico, a multi-generation playground for both of us) when we first started dating.

Corporate transfers have been palatable with this dream.

Yes, moving expands the backyard but for those of us who have and love a sense of place... moving ain't that easy.

Incognito said...

Very cool!! And you're right... it's the people that make a place a home.

Here's another one for a creative Soul, how do you balance the need to express that creativity with the need to make a living.