A June Day in My Homeland (Pesotum, Illinois)

9:00am  The alarm goes off. I am going to the very small church where my sister goes, my presence requested so I can add to the size of the choir (from 6 members to 7) because they’re singing a special song. I am a mostly-Buddhist, who-knows-what-else-ist, but I love these kind people and this small church so I go. My 4 year old nephew comes over to sing too, though who knows whether he’s singing the actual song or one of his own, and nobody minds because he is so cute.

Noon-ish  Lunch with church people; I sit next to my nephew (John John, or JJ) and he shows me silly cartoons on his iPod. Welcome to 21st century childhood.

2-ish  We return home to my sister’s Therapeutic Riding Center. It’s in the 80s and there’s a strong Illinois prairie breeze. I bounce between the 7 dogs in the house and the horse-training going on outside. I sit in the sun and the wind so the flies don’t bite me.

3-ish  I decide to meditate! On the other side of the house, where no one goes. Among the tall grass. It is 30 minutes of what meditation should be. I can imagine for the first time doing a whole hour every day. The only sounds are the wind and one of the horses running in his pasture. I finish filled with love for my friends and the world.

4-ish-6ish  I sit in a reclining chair on the porch. The windchimes play. The dogs come in and out the dog door, and my sister waters plants and chats on occasion. I think maybe I should get up and do something. I don’t. I leave my phone in my pocket.

6ish-10  We drive into town to have dinner with my brother, his wife and 2 boys. They are fun and silly. We look at old family pictures together–from when we were kids, and then older ones going all the way back to the late 1800s. One relative, nicknamed “Leafy,” looks so Irish I have to laugh, and there are many pictures of her. It is overwhelming. One letter is a typed statement by my great grandfather of how he will behave over the next year, and it includes not flirting with more girls than he can handle at one time.

10ish-11ish  Return to the country, the horses, the dogs–and then I take a walk down the road in front of my sister’s house. No car passes. Fireflies call to each other over the fields, corn and soybeans and tall grass beside the road. The moon lights the landscape nearly as much as each homestead’s lights, which are islands in the big flat rich fields. I keep walking past being tired; I keep telling myself “just a little bit longer.” The wind is a friend. I think of Robert Frost’s poem, “I have been one acquainted with the night” and I feel like a Midwest sprite and I let my hair blown around me.

11ish-midnight  Writing. Just journaling. My three dogs sleeping next to me on the couch. The windchimes outside. And then a sweet and hilarious friend messages me, and we chat while I can barely keep my eyes open.

Some time after midnight  Bed. To dream of dogs and horses, fireflies and fairies, wind and stars.

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