It is interesting to try to remember when my brain first started working. I know some tragic events caused my memory to begin at an early age and since some of these years were on the farm, that is where the beginning or sunrise of my life really began.
On a lonely Kansas hill located by a shelterbelt of old trees and a barbed wire fence, sits the place that once fanned my imagination into the field of writing. Strange to say, or fittingly, it was located on a country thoroughfare now named Sunrise Road. Even now, the crows that croon are voicing the same lullaby of bygone days and the melancholy melody of the Kansas farm that once existed. Even before that, some friends of mine who were studying the places where the previous land dweller lived, though there might be some Indian arrows buried at places since it somehow co-existed with the Santa Fe Trail. The rays of the prairie sunrise from the east used to dance through all the long, lean windows of the old two-story farmhouse in which we lived, fueling my little girl’s imagination with a burning desire to pencil my observations onto my Big Chief pencil tablet.
- G. Wells penned these words in 1901 “The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn.” In other words, no matter what happens in this life, we can know that “sunrise always comes, if not in this life, in the life hereafter!”
Sunrise on the farm always gave me a thrill. Shortly before the sun’s grand entrance, the rooster would announce her coming like the trumpet for a king. Sometimes this would cause a brief scurry of the barnyard cats as they began their vigil by watching the front door. Even our two farm dogs, Shep and Spot began their observation, knowing that soon with the coming of their caretaker, they would be fed their morning repast. Occasionally you could hear the plaintive groan of a cow, impatiently waiting to be milked.
The squirming of the chickens occasionally as they sought out their right to the day.
And then it came! Just a hint of a promise at first, brief streaks of color in the drab gray sky, then a little more, and suddenly the sunrise broke out and washed the landscape in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and the world came alive, a new day had arrived!
And it kept coming…to my great-grandparents who had come from Russia to build this farm, to my grandparents who had continued farming with horses, and finally to my dad, who farmed with tractors and me, a gangly farm girl.
As the writer of this column, I have grown up with a deep love for America and for the state of Kansas. The God my ancestors worshipped has become my God when I personally accepted him into my life. He is the God who watches over us and our family now. My loving husband and our son and daughter and their families.
The hill where our farmhouse had weathered the storms of Kansas is now bare. All the buildings have been moved away, the big red barn with the hayloft, the windmill that could sound like a Kansas melody on a windy day, the big yellow, two-story farmhouse in which I had learned to write words in my Big Chief pencil tablet, the long driveway to the road with the Russian mulberry trees planted by the side…all gone now, with nothing left but the green wheat sparkling in the Kansas sun like an emerald sea of promise!
The promise of freedom to my ancestors who came for the freedoms of America and dared to do something that they had never done before. They came to America and along the way over lost two of their little boys. Still, they had the promise that beckons to everyone who believes in God…!
It was here I struggled to find out who God is and how I could finally accept him as my very own. It was here he taught me many new lessons of life that I needed to know in order to make it later on. In the quiet living of that era, I learned to love the peace and tranquility that only He can give, giving my cares to him and knowing for certain that sunrise always comes, if not in this world, then the next.
I still drive by this area from time to time and thank God that my ancestors did come to America. It is through all of this, in spite of the politics of today, I can now say with deep conviction: “ I am a Christian, I am an American, and I Love Kansas!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at [email protected].
By Doris Schroeder