When my children ask why we had to move away from the lakeside community that they call home, I list reasons like family and opportunity and Daddy's new job that allows him to be home more.
But it doesn't tell the whole story.
Then I wandered across this poem written by Julia Matson over at Along the Gravel Road. It gives words to my reasons. Thank you Julia for sharing your words.
Just Like Sarah
by Julia Matson
Momma said her name was deep in the soil underneath our feet.
The land that spread from the northern row of evergreens
to the sparkling stream in the south, to the gravel road on the east
to the softly sloping western hill – the last place the sun touched every dusk.
Momma said she left her name buried in the dirt when she left
and knew it was still there when she – when we – stepped on this land again.
I, a child and new to this land, didn’t know where her name was buried,
but I wanted to dig.
To find her name. To ask her why she left it amongst the fields of alfalfa
and the hills hemmed by the green rows of soybeans.
I asked her about the places she went after she had written her name
on the heart of the farm. And why did she come back?
When she lived in the golden ranchland of Nebraska, didn’t she want her roots to grow deep beside the fields of wheat?
Or later when her home was in the warm and welcoming South, didn’t she want her name there in the land shadowed by the Appalachians?
When the Colorado mountains filled with rocks and twiggy pines cradled her home why didn’t she write her name there – beneath the columbine?
Her answer to my questions came. Not in words, but in who she was and how she moved on this land. How she hung the white linen napkins on the twisting wire underneath the noonday sun and how the white squares seemed to sway to her song. How her face glistened in the fresh wind of May when she dug and planted and pulled and plucked and prodded the tendrils of the yielding dirt and when she danced in the rows.
The sun slipped past that curving western field night after night and left streams of light across the land where her name was written. The land stayed the same after each setting of the sun. But I changed one of those nights and I began to know what it meant – to write my name in the land.
To let my heart pour out through my hands and into the land, just as the sand.
To know this land holds my plans and my place when dreams take me away for a season.
And remember this is where I belong.
This land where my name is written
right beside my momma’s.
Julia Matson will always call the farm “home” even though wanderlust runs through her veins. She currently lives in central Iowa and has the privilege of doing something she loves – ASL (American Sign Language)/English interpreter. She loves 70% dark chocolate with cayenne pepper, a full mug of coffee, and listening to the stories of people around her. You can find more of her words at Along the Gravel Road.