Simple Beauty…

I think that perhaps anytime one loses a loved one that the ensuing process of grief involves a period of personal introspection.  I know that this has been the case for me.

Dad and I, taking a moment together while fly fishing in Crandall Creek...

Dad and I, taking a moment together while fly fishing in Crandall Creek…

It was a shock to learn in late August that my dad was terminally ill.  His time on earth was very limited and his ensuing quality of life for those few short months was poor.  I struggled amidst the stress of having to accept that his illness was something that I could not fix.

One afternoon this fall, as I sat in the Dallas airport waiting for a connecting flight to Florida, a bit of personal introspection reminded me that my dad had always looked for the simple beauty in nature.  Although our professional lives took very different paths, we shared this unique love of the outdoors.

Likely, this is the most precious gift that he ever gave to me and I know that it gave us a special bond.2013_09_27_mr_Will Feed for Drovers-67

There have been many times over the past 17 years when I have felt that my life on a cattle farm in Nebraska fulfilled a lifelong dream of my dad’s.  Although he was an acclaimed attorney, I think that there was always a part of his heart that yearned to be more closely tied to the land.  He fulfilled this need by spending all of his free time outdoors hunting and fly fishing.  I know that the fact that I chose a life working in agriculture was a source of tremendous joy and pride for him.

My dad not only loved to be outdoors, but he also loved to physically challenge himself while interacting with nature.  To him, there was a simple beauty in pushing himself amidst the wilds of Mother Nature.

I have vivid memories of him goading me into taking a run with him in the Florida heat…annedadrunning

Canoeing among the vast alligator population in Fish Eating Creek…familycanoe

10+ mile horseback rides in the mountains of Wyoming (in search of the ideal trout stream)…annedadhorse

Leading a forced march across the prairie looking for grouse, pheasants, and prairie chickens…dadgrouse

Last week I had a moment of oneness with my dad as I checked cattle health at the feed yard.  It was a cold January day in Nebraska — cold enough that cattle chores were just a bit challenging — and I looked up to see three bald eagles soaring and hunting in the corn field just north and west of my cattle pens.

Too bad my I phone does not have a good zoom--the eagles are just dots on the horizon...

Too bad my I phone does not have a good zoom–the eagles are just dots on the horizon in this picture…

Watching the eagles was a truly awesome sight — one that my dad would have appreciated for a myriad of reasons.  I spent a moment knowing that a piece of him was living on through me.

I’d like to think that perhaps it was the best piece of him—the one that held his true passion for the simple beauty of living in direct congruence with the land.


Filed under Environmental Stewardship, Family, General

12 responses to “Simple Beauty…

  1. Anne,
    What a wonderful tribute to your father- I too have lost my dad and now entering elder care with my Mom and others close to me.
    Thank you for all you do for ag and for showing your “simple beauty” and sharing that with the world, it is making a difference!
    Condolences and blessings to you.
    Pam Fretwell
    Farm Journal

    • Thank you, Pam. I really appreciate your kind words and support. All the best to you as you navigate the “elderly care” waters. Our family recently went through that also with my grandparents. Quality of life and recognizing the small blessings are so important in life.

      I love what I do, and enjoy writing about it as well. I hope that it is, in fact, making a difference to others!


  2. Check out that T-Shirt! T-16 Baby! Proud dad all around! Great post.

    • Yes, Bill–I figured that you would notice the Top 16 t-shirt in the picture! Those were good years—

      Glad that you liked the post and it is good to hear from you.

  3. Absolutely beautiful. As we struggle through the various feelings after a loss of a friend, I look forward to the time that we all simply feel him near in our everyday lives.

    • I am so glad that the post spoke to you, Debbie. Thank you so much for reading and sharing it on Facebook. I needed to write this post—it is part of my coping mechanism as I navigate the “grief journey”. Looking at old pictures and calling up old memories are part of my healing process.

      I know that Dad would have loved this post. With God’s help, he is smiling down from heaven.

      I wish you the best as you mourn your friend. It makes for hard times.

      Take care,

  4. Those gifts will live on in you forever. Thank you for sharing.

    • Yes Cindy, I agree with you and believe that they will. I appreciate your thoughts and am glad that you enjoyed the post. I know that it is one that I will go back and read over and over again in the times ahead.

      All the best,

  5. JStokka

    Beautiful piece about your father and about appreciating God’s creation. We are truly blessed when we are able to appreciate the really important things in life.

    • Thank you, Doc. Remembering what is really important and prioritizing your life around those things is a great “life tool”. My dad was a wonderful man — and has left behind a legacy by sharing his passions.

      I hope that you are staying warm up north!

  6. Janet B

    Anne, You have captured so beautifully the essence of family and agriculture. Much of what we do is not for us, but for others who share the planet for for those very-special ones to whom we are bound by blood. Thank you for your relfection. You have both my admiration and condolences.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Janet. I love raising my children on our farm — learning to cherish and respect our natural resources is a very important component to sustainability of both family and the land. I am glad that you enjoyed the post. Thank you for reaching out to me.

      All the best,

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