Pastoral Magic

Rusty Alderson
Aug 18 · 2 min read
Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

On a perfect spring morning at dawn (the perfect time of day)
During the golden hour, when temperatures are mild
And the prairie landscape is magical
Prospects for someone who had been up to greet the sunrise
Wax contemplative, compelling, and enticing

Beneath the landscape of native prairie with its
Buffalo grass and bluestem is found
Rich land which has not yet succumbed to the plow
Much of the plains has been claimed by
Family farms and ranches which dot the vast rolling landscape
But most is devoted to pasture and grazing, not crops and cultivation

The dots, quite apparent in the early morning,
Points of twinkling light peppering the landscape
Bearing witness to a homestead’s abiding faith
That the land would provide
That the countryside could be tamed
And a good living could be coaxed out of it

Compelling pastoral scenarios play out
Where the lights identify human habitation
The way a mound of dirt identifies a prairie dog home
As the sun comes up and the day starts at a brisk pace
Women doing the breakfast dishes or tending their gardens
Men feeding livestock and maintaining machinery

Children embrace the country life, doing their chores
Making their beds, milking the cows, and attending their pets
Youngsters feeding the chickens and gathering eggs
Before standing by the road to wait for the school bus
Everything invites inspired imagination
It all seems wrapped in mystery

The curious mind wanders through meadows, pastures and ditches
Trying to discover their innate wisdom which most assuredly
Lurks just out of sight and out of reach
The highway beckons to the other elements of the countryside
The train tracks, the ditches and culverts, the electrical and phone lines Breathe inspiration and acquire an affinity with wanderlust

Along with these faux travelers, are windmills, barns, and stock tanks
Dancing gracefully through the fields like unpretentious, gargantuan fairies
Occasionally, the fluid, rolling plains are punctuated
By a solitary cottonwood tree, or an infrequent weeping willow
Standing like staunch sentries guarding the confessions of the prairie
Striking silhouettes against the vast canvas of grass and sky

Most impressive, the small miracles, the tumbleweeds and dust devils
Springing to life, animated by unseen prairie sprites
Where are they going, and what is so urgent?
The invisible spider webs hunkered down in the unmown grasses
Emerge from their camouflage, mystically awakened by the dew
A natural potion which fashions mercurial jewelry for the buffalo grass
Making it sparkle and rejoice in the sunlight


By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

Rusty Alderson

Written by

A retired technologist eschewing the 9 to 5; perpetual student; observer extraordinaire; logician; philosopher; writer; advocate for nature and wilderness.


By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

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