I was a pioneer girl, setting out with my little red wagon across the cornfield; the cornfield was a vast, desolate area next to my house in Illinois. It was especially brown and lonely this chilly October late afternoon. I was 8 years old, and I was determined to make it all the way to the forest, which meant going through the mud and over the corm stalk stumps from the summer’s harvest.
The journey was treacherous. But I was desperate, desperate to reach the Promised Land. I trudged onward, yanking my wagon over the uneven earth. It was late October, yet still the Indian summer caused the Canadian geese to stick around a little bit longer than usual. Their honking overhead created an alarm, a warning, that winter was ahead, and I only had so much time before frost would put its icy chains over all that was living.
I wondered how those geese knew to fly in a triangle, in perfect solider -like lines. I watched their powerful wings harness the sky and glide effortlessly over me. I imagined where they were going; what would they see in their journey South? Could I jump on, take hold of their feathers and travel with them? Oh, how desperately I longed to see the places they would see and feel the wind in my face and hair.
It’s not that I wanted to escape my life. I had a chicken soup and hot chocolate type of childhood; it was safe and warm in every way. However, at the young age of 8, my soul longed for completeness, and I was determined to search until I found it. I wanted to be free from having to give my oral report in front of the class on Monday. I didn’t want to think about my girlfriends at school, and not having the right shoes; I didn't want to feel the pressure to partake in the things that might happen at the slumber party on Saturday, or be made fun of for getting picked up in the morning by my parents to go to church. I didn’t want to deal with being known as “the shy girl” at school, with my awkward retainer and orange freckles. I didn’t want to practice my multiplication tables yet one more time only to fail the times test once again.
In school, we studied about those brave frontiersmen and pioneers who ventured West in search for something greater. I believe I was on a quest to find that great thing.
When my wagon wheel finally made it back into the forest, I believed I had entered a different world. It was silent, except for the trees that danced in the wind and the long prairie grasses that were as nearly as tall as myself. They seemed to swallow me whole. They cradled me as I lay down in them, my body making a fresh indent in the seemingly untouched earth. The wind blew over me, catching the grasses and spraying its seeds everywhere. I closed my eyes, and I listened. To the geese moving overhead. To the wind. To the voice inside that soothed my unsettled spirit. This is where I belonged, a mere blade of grass being tossed around effortless without being uprooted.
In my life I have had moments of this peace. It is a few minutes of detachment from life on this earth and a taste of the future forever home. I call them “glimpses of heaven."
It is when all is right in the world, and the earth is spinning at a gentler speed. Being swept up in the rhythm of those swaying prairie grasses was one of my moments.
And how I wished I could remain there forever.
But in the distance, I could here a faint, familiar voice: “Dinner....Dinner.....” It was the voice of my mother, beckoning me homeward.
It was back to reality, and that was ok, because I knew my forest was a mere cornfield crossing away.