February 9, 2015

I have come by the highway home

In January I had to make two unexpected trips back to South Dakota.  My aunt passed on New Year's Day, and a short while later my dear friend Barbara's mother passed.  My husband had commitments he couldn't break so I found myself driving alone across southern Minnesota on a lonely stretch of highway for the second funeral.  Usually when I am traveling across the prairie the lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel's Look for America run through my mind...

So I looked at the scenery,
She read her magazine;
And the moon rose over an open field.
"Kathy, I'm lost", I said,
Though I know she was sleeping.
"I'm empty and aching and
I don't know why."

But this time I did know why I was empty and aching--returning home to once again say goodbye to a dear woman who lived her life gracefully and loving was hard.  Even when someone has lived a good and long life, it is still hard to say goodbye.  Watching my friend grieve the loss of her mother was difficult.  Knowing that each day I grow a step closer to being the "older generation" whose shoes will be so hard to fill, is a somber thought.

I took these photos as I traveled through Wisconsin's glaciated cliffs and coulies, across the Mississippi, and passing small towns nestled next to lonely snow drifted prairie roads, watching the sun, not the moon, rise over the open fields.


My travels brought to mind one of Robert Frost's poems, Reluctance, as I watched the miles speed by through the warmth of my car.  My heart agreed with his passionate resistance to not willingly go "with the drift of things".  God bless the two wonderful women we have had to say our last goodbyes to.  May the winter be over for them. 


Out through the fields and the woods
   And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
   And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
   And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
   Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
   And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
   When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
   No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
   The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
   But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
   Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
   To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
   Of a love or a season?

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