Prairie Bound

On Sunday, I watched a movie called “Sweet Land”.  It’s a story about a German mail-order bride named Inge who travels from Norway to the Minnesota prairie to marry a Norwegian immigrant farmer named Olaf Torvik.  Not only must they learn to relate to each other, they have to overcome prejudice toward Germans in their community before even the reverend can be convinced to marry them.

Click on the link if you’d like to watch the trailer.



Their story captured my heart and imagination.  I have determined to become a prairie wife in a pretty prairie farmhouse on a prairie farm in a quaint prairie community (who have dealt with any underlying anti-German sentiments before my covered wagon rolls into town, as I’m Low German and all ).

And I’m well on my way, too.  I’ve armed myself with information from the documentary “America’s Lost Landscape: The Tallgrass Prairie.”  I’ve perused the internet for farm listings on the prairie and found several wonderful possibilities within our price range in Saskatchewan.  Land is cheaper out there than here, at least for the present. 

Imagine my enchantment when I read that most of them feature one or more dugouts.  I was ready throw on my bonnet and load up the butter churn then and there until I found out that nowadays, a prairie dugout refers to a manmade pond that supplies the farm with water, not a dwelling hollowed out of a dirt bank like in “On the Banks of Plum Creek”.  But that didn’t slow me down.  I scoured the internet for prairie-style house plans incase we decide to build a house on vacant land instead of purchasing a farm with a perfect prairie home already on it.

Albert began to get alarmed at the fervor with which I attacked my new project.  He earnestly laid out several reasons for believing that I won’t be happy on the prairie.

Poor man.  He’s never sure how seriously to take me or just how far I’ll carry out my flights of fancy.  I know perfectly well that playing Inge and Olaf wouldn’t be as fun or romantic as it looks in the movie.  For one thing, there are reasons why trees don’t grow on the tallgrass plains, not the least of which are harsh winters and summers so dry and scorching that trees don’t stand a chance.

Besides, I’m old and wise enough to know that a change of location doesn’t help one escape every problem and challenge.  In fact, just being in a physical space of exquisite peace and beauty can further agonize a troubled heart by the poignant disparity between itself and it’s surroundings.  It longs to cross that barrier; by what method, it cares not.  it would draw in and saturate itself with the peace it sees outside, or empty itself out in it, but trapped in skin and flesh, it can do neither.

Maybe someday we’ll go to the prairie.  I’ll listen to the insects buzz as the sun beats down and the wind blows the tall grass around me.  I’ll play with gophers like Brian O’connal in “Who has seen the Wind”, and hide it from Albert ’cause he won’t approve of me mollycoddling critters who chew up the beet patch…at least, I can dream.


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