The vivid memory of the Nebraska plains never leaves me. I can return to this place at any moment. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. My lungs are filled with the clean and pure air, a welcome change from the thick hazy air of the outside world. I am alone with only my thoughts and emotions to keep me company. The summer breeze, warm upon my face is filled with the sweet smell of the tall billowing grass.
Soft green hills surround me. I am not certain where they begin or where they end. Far into the distance I can see another farmhouse. Only an occasional windmill disrupts the scenery.
Clusters of bright yellow sunflowers are growing amidst the green prairie grass. I pick a sunflower and take pleasure in its sweet fragrance. I pull each soft petal off and toss it into the wind. Puffs of white cotton from a cottonwood tree float slowly past me.
As I walk, the thick blades of green prairie grass tickle my legs. Huge brown grasshoppers jump left and right to escape my path. Except for the occasional chirping of a meadowlark, it is so quiet I feel as though the world exists only here and I am the only person allowed to witness this beautiful portrait of nature.
Minutes turn into hours and the sun begins to sink below the horizon. The sky is splashed with yellow, gold and orange. Crickets begin to sing their evening song. I climb a large hill and when I look down, a small stream beckons me. As I get closer I can hear the bubbling sound as it flows over the rocks beneath surface. I gather some smooth cool rocks from the bottom of the stream as keepsakes. When I look into the grayish blue water, I see a reflection of a small child. I reach down and touch the cold smooth surface and the ripples distort it. When I look down again I see the image of grown woman.
I am in awe of the simple beauty around me. The complications of everyday life seem so far away. A sense of calm envelops me. This is the most beautiful portrait God has created. Even today when I close my eyes and take a deep breath, the scene is vivid in my mind. The hills that I remember as a child mean as much to me now as they did when I was a child. Their beauty remains untouched, and I will treasure them forever.