Place Where You Live:

Rolling Grasslands of Winfred, South Dakota

On a late June evening, I ride my high-spirited quarter horse, Hero, through one of my family’s livestock grazing pastures. Our relationship is strong. When we are united it is as if we are “one” in spirit. We continue our journey together as we pass through the pasture.

As I ride through the pasture, the gentle breeze softly touches my skin, whispers peacefully in my ear, and raises the tiny hairs on my arms. I am aware of the field crickets and meadow grasshoppers chirping. The skinny blades of Kentucky bluegrass bristle against one another as my horse brushes through them with each stride. The grasshopper sparrows squeak and wrestle in the air as they cross the colorful sunset. The beautiful colors scattered across the sky range from crescent orange, to rosy pink, to shades of purple and blue.

A small pond in the distance is alive with American coots swimming through the thick cattails along with the load croaking of leopard frogs. Mallard ducks are quacking and flying off with their silhouettes. A shallow creek runs peacefully through the pasture; Hero crosses it effortlessly. The creek shares a lot of history with my family. We have found small arrowheads left behind by the plains Indians crossing the land years ago.

The loud cackling of ring-neck pheasants echoes across the rolling plains. Our Black Angus cattle nestle in the soft, grassy bedding for the night. Hero snorts abruptly as he is aware of a small cotton tail rabbit that scurries into the pasture brush. The pesky mosquitoes are becoming more abundant, which reminds me that it is time to head home. I let my reins go and allow Hero to make his way back for he knows his way by heart. As the world gradually goes to sleep, I am reminded how fortunate I am for having the opportunity to live freely among nature and its unique animals near the place where I live.