Staking A Claim

a growing
 breaking hard soils
the stuff of common life.
 Seed words stored up in the barn,
winnows and rakes at the ready,
 sunrise and sunset measure spent days
thoughtsteading on the prairie of a mind.
Comments are welcome. To leave a comment, please click below.
For more information on the Etheree, a syllabic poem containing ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, please click HERE.

99 thoughts on “Staking A Claim

  1. I do believe that I have told you that I am often lost for words when it comes to expressing how much I like what you write. Nothing fancy, except that I like this!

    1. Well, that’s just fine, Roberta, because this isn’t a fancy poem. The word “thoughtsteader” came to me in mid-January, and I liked it so much I kept messing with it – until this emerged. I’m glad you like it!


        1. As you know, Lynda, it’s lots of fun. And if there’s anything I’m learning, it’s that when it comes to writing, opening the mind is as important as closing the door.


  2. Your words are rich with images. They convey your meaning and tell your story so well.

    Yesterday, we listened to Ira Glass on Storytelling. It is a set of 4 videos in which he expresses his thoughts about the art. Our son suggested them to a cousin in a Facebook comment. If your readers are interested, they are part way down this page.

    1. Jim,

      Thanks for the kind words, and for the link. “This American Life” is a great program, and Glass knows story-telling.

      I started out here with the concept of “thoughtsteading”, but now I’m equally fond of those “seed words” stored in the barn. This one was fun to do.


    1. Steve,

      I love that last line, though I’ve found some of my best seed-words from sources like your Spanish-English Word Connections. There’s a difference between seed corn and seed words, of course. Wise farmers know the wisdom of the old saying, “Don’t eat your seed corn.” On the other hand, seed words can be used without being destroyed.

      Your delicious punning holds more interest for me than you could have known. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. DeCamp, read aloud to us every day in the afternoon, and I vividly remember the “Little House” books from that time. As for Taymor, I learned she was born in Newton, Massachusetts, just as I was born in Newton, Iowa. Coincidences abound.


      1. Schoolchildren are usually eager to miss a day of regular classes, so even if you liked your fourth grade teacher I expect you were occasionally happy to see Mrs. DeCamp decamp.

        As for thoughtsteading, your background must leave you always at least partly in an Iowa state of mind.

    1. And as a born-and-bred Iowan, I must say it gives me good feelings, too. I didn’t live on a farm, but we all lived farm life to one degree or another – including being in 4-H and showing at the County Fair. The older I get, the more grateful for the experience I am.

      I’m glad you like the poem, DM.


    1. “Visual thought” is such an interesting phrase. I’ve never heard poetry described precisely that way, but it’s such an evocative phrase. Leave it to a painter and sculptor to come up with it! Thanks so much, Kayti.


    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I could be happy out there. The photo reminded me of the “clean curve of hill against sky” that entranced me in Kansas. I suspect that trip played into this poem, too, if only subconsciously.

      We’ve had sunshine for two days now – I hope you’re thawing as well.


  3. I love that this looks like a tree! I’ve not heard of this form before. I’m not sure I understand the meaning of having to do this challenge—Like Haiku alludes me, too…..But, I LOVE the words you use and the imagery they evoke. I know I sound really stupid. Forgive me.

    1. OldOldLady of The Hills,

      You don’t sound stupid at all. The etheree isn’t very common, partly because it’s a relatively new form and people just don’t know about it. I like it more than haiku because it feels “roomier” – there’s more opportunity to develop an extended metaphor or flesh out an image.

      When you said you didn’t understand “the meaning of having to do this challenge,” the first word that popped to mind was “étude”. When I began my musical instruction, I hated the scales and exercises. I wanted to play songs. Eventually, I understood that mastering the structure and discipline of the études would contribute to more expressive and enjoyable playing.

      The etheree as étude – what a concept. Thanks for bringing it to mind!


    1. Gallivanta,

      Isn’t “thoughtsteading” fun? Some time ago, I read a description of homesteading that still resonates. I can’t find it now for attribution, but it was something like this: “Homesteading was a process of setting out, finding a place that seemed congenial, and then seeing what you could make of it.”

      I think that would work for thoughtsteading, too.


    1. Thanks, Bella. I may never look at a dictionary in quite the same way. When I was in school, we used to make covers for our books from brown paper bags. Maybe dictionaries should come covered in burlap.


  4. This makes me think about how we crossed paths at MiYC, Deb’s blog. First, I met her through her fp’d post on “Read Walking”, then I met you when you commented on my guest post on her site. I won’t be forgetting this wonderful “thoughtsteading on the prairie of a mind” just like I haven’t forgotten “RW”. Our memory does “stake a claim” on words we love.

    1. Georgette,

      Hasn’t it been fun? First we found a spot (WordPress), then we built our cabins (the blogs), then we planted a crop (the first entries) and then we began to know the neighbors. The harvest? Friendship, interaction, new insights, developed skills, more planting of crops.

      Once established and productive, the next question inevitably becomes: more land, or a pot of geraniums in the window? We’ll see.


    1. Bayou Woman,

      I did find the cabin photo in my travels, but it was my travel through the wilds of the internet that turned it up. It’s a Wikipedia file photo used in their article on homesteading on the prairie. It’s South Dakota rather than Kansas, but everyone knows that all those midwestern states look alike. ;)

      I was so tickled by your comment about line five. You must pronounce “soils” with one syllable rather than two. I’ve seen the same thing happen with haiku. When syllable counting is important, pronunciation and dialect can make a big difference. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, only a matter of living language.


      1. Oh my goodness, you are so right about soyuls!!! It IS two syllables! Please oh please do forgive me. I’d much rather tickle and be wrong than offend any day!! Hey guess what? The SUN is shining!

        1. I got more than usually curious and found a site online where they had several people pronouncing the word. Some very clearly made it into two syllables, but a couple of folks turned it into one – almost as though it were written “soul,” so you would have had company even if you only used one. My mother used to get on my case all the time because “engine” turns out “injun” when I say it. At least I finally quit saying “woof” for “wolf”.

  5. Hello Linda:

    Every time I read one of your elaborate blog posts, I learn new concepts and facts. This time it’s a new form of poetry known as “Etheree”. I had never head the word before, so I googled it up.

    “The poetry form, Etheree, consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables.”

    Your Wild Awakening

    of woods;
    on hands I stroke
    speak of hard-spent days.
    I trace a stubbled chin
    and hear my name unspoken
    in a warm unwavering gaze.
    Pressing kisses taste of surging need.
    I revel in your wild awakening.

    Andrea Dietrich

    Learning English is a difficult challenge for me, but reading your work makes the learning curve less steep. Thank you for sharing fine poetry with us.



    1. Omar,

      You may have seen that there are people who’ve expanded this form, creating forms like a double-Etheree, or starting with ten syllables and working down to one. (If you double that, it looks like an hour-glass.) I wouldn’t want to make Etherees my life, but every now and then it’s fun to do one.

      As for English – believe me when I tell you that your English is far better than that of many people I meet every day. All of us need to keep learning, but you’re far beyond basic proficiency. That’s because you work at it, in many ways. You read, you watch movies, you write every day on your blog – all those activities help.

      I wish we could bottle up your enthusiasm . I’d gladly hand out a few free bottles to some young people I know, who seem to think you can get through life with nothing but acronyms.

      I’m glad you liked the poem, too – a little variety to spice up life!


    1. Cindy, you’ve given me so much enjoyment with you library site, I’m delighted to return the favor. Remember the poster of the child perched atop that stack of books, peering over the wall? He’s a thoughtsteader – I’m sure of it.


    1. Debbie,

      Historically, fences and homesteading went together. Even in the 1800s people were of a divided mind about them, but after the Homestead Act, fences were critical if you wanted to keep free-ranging cattle off your property.

      It’s really interesting to go back and look at that period in history. Free-ranging cattle meant a need for cattle drives, cowboys and branding. Homesteading and the enclosure of public lands meant fences.

      In Kansas, rock fences popped up for only one reason – they had to do something with all that rock so they could plow the fields. In some places, like the Flint Hills, there was so much rock they couldn’t plow. Thank goodness – that meant that portions of the prairie survived.

      There’s just so much to think about!


  6. Happy Valentine’s Day, Linda. I’d love to hear why you started with “Fence” and what that evokes for you. Is it part of staking your claim, providing some privacy, or setting apart? Or is it that fences make good neighbors?
    Homesteading is a lovely word, and thoughtsteading, too. What is “steading” anyway. Is it steadying?

    1. Rosemary,

      Oh, my. I’ll try not to write another post in response to your question!

      Actually, I didn’t start with “fence”. Instead, through a series of circumstances, I first came up with the word “thoughtsteader”. Then, about a week ago, I woke up around 3 a.m. with the last line of the poem fully formed in my mind. I counted the syllables, discovered there were ten, thought “Etheree!”, and started working my way backward, looking for images that would support the echo of homesteading.

      As I worked my way back, I realized that fence had to come first, for historical reasons. The Homestead Act of 1862 helped to open the west to settlement. At the time, open range was common, and it was the responsibility of the settler to fence cattle out, rather than it being the responsibility of the cattle owner to fence his cattle in.

      Then, other laws were passed, like the 1867 law abolishing the open range. Settlement increased, and fences went up. Also in 1867, the first patent was issued for barbed wire. There was conflict aplenty, and real problems because of fenced land, but the fences were important for farmers and settlers to be able to raise and bring in their crops.

      So – fence here has nothing to do with privacy, a little to do with setting a boundary, and everything to do with protecting the claim so that the business of creation can go on.

      As for “stead”, you were on target with “steadying”. The Online Etymology dictionary says that “stead” comes from the Old English stede – “place, position; standing, firmness, stability, fixity.”

      And, it goes on to add this about “homestead”. “In U.S. usage, “a lot of land adequate for the maintenance of a family” (1690s), defined by the Homestead Act of 1862 as 160 acres. Hence, the verb, [e.g., “They homesteaded in Nebraska”] first recorded 1872. Homesteader also is from 1872.”

      They didn’t have an entry for “thoughtsteader”. ;)


    1. phil,

      Who knows? Maybe a thoughtsteader’s fences help to keep stray thoughts from wandering through and tearing up the newly-planted paragraphs.

      I did find an interesting page devoted to range wars, feuds and other such mischief. Interesting that technology had its detractors in those days, too. Barbed wire, that great advancement in fencing, brought about fence-cutting, which often led to even more conflict.
      Ah, humanity.

      Enjoy the sunshine. We’ve got gloom on the horizon.


      1. Can’t have thoughts wandering around loose! (They’ll box you up of that…and they do so damage those neatly planted ideas sometimes…) Great imagery in this one.
        Going outside while it’s open…really tired of the not so great indoors.

    1. Both asides are very interesting, Steve. I didn’t know about the meaning of the name. It seems appropriate.

      Etheree Taylor Armstrong’s grave is remarkably close to another Arkansas town I want to visit – Paris. One of Thomas Hart Benton’s friends painted murals in several Arkansas post offices, including Paris. I’ve got the list and would love to make the circuit. If I do, I’ll include a stop in Magnet Cove.

  7. This brought to mind Frost’s Mending Wall and the whole concept of a fence. We have dry stone walls at the edge of our yard, and I’m not sure what they’re intended for: to keep us in or others out, or just a place to put all the rocks you don’t want somewhere else?

    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows?
    But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.’

    1. It’s funny, Susan. I’ve come to rather like fences over the past years, but I’m particular. I don’t like the suburban fences that are 12′ high and isolate each lot from the others, but the stone fences of Kansas, the beautifully designed wooden fences of the midwest, the complexity and beauty of some of the barbed wires – all high on my list.

      Boundaries and limits are important in life, metaphorically and otherwise. Sometimes they’re needed. I think these lines of Frost point to that.

      “Isn’t it where there are cows?
      But here there are no cows.”

      On the open range, as homesteading brought settlement into the midst of the great herds, fence had a purpose. There were cows, and a need for containment.

      And speaking of free-ranging thoughts… I was going to say something about cow-catchers, those funny scoops at the front of locomotives that move free-ranging cattle off railroad tracks. As it turns out, the inventor of the cow-catcher (or “pilot”) was Charles Babbage, the same fellow who invented the “Difference Engine” and who’s considered a father of the modern computer.

      Apparently his interests were pretty wide-ranging, and no one tried to fence him in. (I can argue both sides of this issue!)


    1. Emily, I was so confused. We used to vacation at Leech Lake when I was a child, and my memories of Minnesota are nothing like that photo.On the other hand, I didn’t know where Pipestone was. Now I do, and it all makes sense. That’s about as close to South Dakota as you can get without being at the Corn Palace.

      You may not have read all the comments. I mentioned something I only realized this morning. Even thoughtsteaders need fences – to keep all the stray thoughts off the place!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the complimentary words.


  8. I love what you do with the etherees! I love this one for the duality of the imagery….images of homesteading on the hard land with sunrise and sunset measuring the days….and the images of the writer storing away words, breaking ground -thoughtsteading-with sunrise and sunset measuring the days.

    1. Judy,

      If that duality communicates itself to you, I count this one a success. I see that Curt, down the page, caught the double meaning of “growing necessity”. That makes me happy, too.

      And just as an extra treat, how about this as a reminder that not all the folks who established homesteads were men? The photo was taken by
      Solomon Butcher, who helped to preserve the Nebraska homesteading experience. It shows the Chrisman sisters, in 1886. Lizzie Chrisman filed the first of the sisters’ homestead claims in 1887. Lutie Chrisman filed the following year. The other two sisters, Jennie Ruth and Hattie, had to wait until they came of age to file. They both filed in 1892.

      He also photographed the Shores family, former slaves who settled in Custer County. I suppose it’s too much to hope that they called their homestead “Shores Acres”.


  9. Linda,
    This is exactly why I am up at 3:47 am wondering what I am doing up, other than I am thoughtsteading.

    It is a full moon and I know each month I feel the tug of her light and the swelling of her roundness within my own self, but the thoughts running through my mind in these wee hours of the morning are all about my past and where I’ve come. Thoughtsteading is exactly what this is. Thank you my dear friend.

    1. CheyAnne,

      I was watching the moon for a bit this morning, myself, just before it set. In the winter, I can see it without getting out of bed. This morning I realized that, over these weeks of cloudy and gray, it’s moved so far to the south I have to get up to see it. The message? Spring’s coming.

      Sometimes thoughtsteading’s work – just plain, hard work. But even a thoughtsteader gets to stand on the porch in the moonlight now and then, looking over the crops and being satisfied with the harvest. And I’ve no doubt your ponies are beautiful in moonlight.

      Happy thoughtsteading, and happy spring.


  10. Wonderful! I love this piece, Linda. ‘thoughtsteading on the prairie of a mind.’ What a fresh idea extended from an old image. You’re a marvel.

    On another note, maybe the same note with a resounding tune, there’s an artist who used to live in Ontario and a few years ago had moved all the way down to Oklahoma. Her name is Michelle Hendry, her website is named ‘Artscapes’. You might have come across her comments on my blog. Just thought you’d be interested to visit her website. In particular, this post in which she described her trip to Padre Island, Texas. Reading it made me think of you. I know you’ll enjoy exploring her website.

    1. Arti,

      I did enjoy the piece on Padre Island. Many of us love winter at the beach far more than summers – there are more shells, and fewer tourists. I suspect we’re only a month or so away from Spring Break on Padre — an entirely different experience than Michelle’s. I did notice that she has a couple of examples of the Texas state shell in her collection. She didn’t say anything about it, so I’ll drop by and let her know.

      There’s nothing quite so enjoyable as coming up with something that’s both part of a tradition and a fresh interpretation of that tradition. Could it be that I’ve just gained some insight into the book-into-film discussions?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. It was lots of fun to construct.


  11. I know barnstorming is not what I’m describing, but as soon as my husband was out of the house it happened. All those seeds came out of storage. All those “wrong thoughts” became words, sentences, paragraphs, blog posts, and shared.

    1. Claudia,

      That’s the nice thing about words. No matter how long you store them, they don’t go bad. You may not remember everything you’ve tucked away, but all you have to do is plant them and wait to see what sprouts up.

      My grandmother was the world’s worst for collecting seeds, putting them in envelopes and then putting them away without writing down what each envelope contained..When spring came, she rarely remembered what she had. We didn’t care. We just planted, and if something grew and bloomed, we made our bouquets.

      I hear a rumor spring’s going to come to your part of the world – eventually. Happy planting!


  12. Fences are certainly a growing necessity around here, Linda. Otherwise the deer would eat all of Peggy’s carefully tended vegetables. And a regular size fence won’t do. It’s up and over with nary a thought, which brings me to thoughtsteading. Writers and thinkers of all types need fences of quiet to let their thoughts grow. –Curt

    1. I knew someone would discover the double meaning in that phrase “growing necessity”. I wasn’t sure who it would be, but here you are.

      You brought along the perfect example, too. I know several people who last year lost their vegetable crops to deer – not to mention apples, pears, camillias and roses. Raccoons and possums are sneaky-clever, and require even tighter security.

      I like your image of “fences of quiet.” It reminds me of a quotation I bumped into a couple of days ago. It’s from Stephen King, in his book on writing.

      “If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far. Just an idea.”

      I think he’s on to something.


      1. I really enjoyed King’s book on writing. TV is only one of many distractions. I don’t know how new parents do it. Peggy just finished a quilt for me today that features books. I am to hang it up when writing so folks will give me the quiet time. :) Curt

        1. You do know that in many of the earthen homes on the prairie (the “soddies”), there were no interior walls. “Rooms” were created by hanging up quilts. If it worked for homesteaders, it should work for a thoughtsteader.

  13. “thoughtsteading on the prairie of a mind” Is such a great word picture. This whole poem is a great analogy — having to keep your thoughts fenced in so your mind doesn’t wander. Etherees are a great exercise in discipline and word precision. (not to mention vocabulary when you have to come up with a word with a precise meaning that also has to have a certain number of syllables).

    1. WOL,

      You’ve just flipped what I said up above about fencing out distraction. Fences are dual-purpose, for sure. Heaven knows my mind has a tendency to wander — it doesn’t take much to entice me away from my yard.

      Frost caught that duality in “Mending Wall” when he says,

      “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
      What I was walling in or walling out…”

      A fence with a purpose can be a very good thing.

      I do love the structure of the etheree. Just counting syllables isn’t enough. Even with the right number of syllables, a poem can feel leaden and lifeless. That’s where finding not just the right word, but the right phrasing becomes so important.

      There’s another great advantage to the etheree. I don’t need to be at the computer or have paper and pen to work on them. I love amusing myself with them at work – I just have to keep a pen around to scribble down new possibilities on that used sandpaper.


  14. I’ve been looking forward to visiting here, after the dramas at home, and the wait has been worth it, once more. All resonates wonderfully. Mayhap when Pixel and I sit under the nectarine tree in the sunshine tomorrow, we’ll do some ‘thoughtsteading’ :-)

    1. eremophila,

      How nice to see you out and about again – it’s proof positive that Pixel really is doing better. I love the thought of the two of you side by side under the tree. In whatever way animals experience gratitude, I’m sure she feels it. She may feel much like we do after a bad case of the flu – feeling good just to be feeling good.

      Enjoy your thoughtsteading, and the sunshine!


  15. Just slip, sliding down into here to say hello, I have missed you.
    Slip, sliding away to wave a hi and share a hug to you. Missed you all but life sometimes calls one away from computers and such.

    May the weather over your heads be what you want or need… take care.. redagainPatti

    1. Patti, it’s so nice to see you. I saw there was snow in Oxford the other day, and I was sure you were getting some, too. I hope spring comes soon – and my best to your mom.


      1. Hey darling,
        Popped back in here again.. about the snow bit in my area. Nope – nada, and none! But ice, yea … the cold and the hard part of winter but none of the pretty stuff. The folks south of me, near the Gulf, got snow… maybe an effect of the waters down there? The folks north of me got snow… the cold ground and air must had helped them. Me, just stuck in the middle but seeing temps now nearing the 70’s … must get out and do the winter clean and trim very soon. Hugs and love…

  16. I like the way your words hint at a springtime of wordsmithing. As winter starts fading and the weather warms, it’s not just the plants and flowers that become less sluggish. Our minds do, too.

    1. Gué.

      There’s no question about it. The sap starts to flow again. Not only that, there’s less teeth-gritting going on, too. It’s not been so bad down here. but you can tell the pepole who’ve been having to cope and cope and COPE are just tired of it, and ready to relax a bit.
      Lying fallow is one thing. Being irrationally convinced spring never is going to arrive is another.

      Besides, airing out a mind is just as worthwhile as airing out a house, and just as pleasant. My hope is that we’re past the worst of it.


    1. nikkipolani,

      How wonderful that the words have stayed in your mind. From what I can tell, “thoughtsteading” is a new word. When I google it, or any of its forms, I end up on my own site. That’s kind of fun in itself, but it’s even more fun having a word to describe something we all do.


  17. I’m with the others. You’ve really found something unique in the words “thought-steading on a prairie of the mind”; simply exquisite. Such an economy of words pointing to a wide land and its culture.

    1. Monica,

      Isn’t it interesting how these things come to us? I’ve no doubt the phrase is rooted in my trip to the prairies last fall. Beyond that? Who knows? It did occur to me that “The Thoughtsteader” might look good on a tombstone. ;)


  18. I am unable to come up with anything more than your other friends have already expressed to you, Linda.

    So simply: I love the imagery your words paint.

    1. Lynda,

      Thanks so very much. Sometimes I surprise myself, as I did with this last line, appearing as it did at 3 a.m. or so, fully formed. Maybe Saul Bellow’s right when he says, “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”


  19. it’s taken days to view this at your site and not in the inbox! it was worth the stubborn fight w/slow internet to see this as you designed it!

    it’s beautiful; when the ‘best of’ volumes are published, your poetic writings deserved to be cherished by all!


    1. Zeebra,

      That’s it! You can think of your stubborn fight with the slow internet as a training ground for the necessarily stubborn fight with the slow bureaucracy.

      It does look better on the page than as a text-only email, doesn’t it? It’s a good reminder that font, layout and images are as important as words when it comes to a blog. That’s true with books, to some extent, but it’s not as critical.

      I’m glad you liked the poem. It’s fun to capture such large (mental and physical) spaces in so few words.


  20. The photo and the poem fit so well together. Each evoke a kind of spaciousness, and attention to the whole. It is interesting how writing so mirrors farming. A curious mix of hard work and harder waiting…

    1. Interesting perspective, Allen. I don’t know how it is for you, but I often find the waiting harder than the working. Both are necessary, and both require learning some skills — not to mention developing a comfort with spaciousness, whether of land or imagination.

      I was delighted to find the photo. It’s always great to have an image that doesn’t just illustrate the post, but actually lives in a reciprocal relationship with the words.


    1. Jeanie, as creative as you are, I understand your fence reference completely. My mom used to caution me about “running off in all directions at once.” I suspect that’s a temptation you face every day, with the terrific variety of projects you always have going.

      I saw my first Texas dandelion of the year yesterday, and some white clover. Spring is starting to emerge, and it won’t be long until you’ll need to fence off some of those indoor projects to you can get out on the paths with your camera!


  21. Beautiful imagery. Experience does lend itself to fences, I guess. For some reason, the song Untanglin’ My Mind by Clint Black came to me while pondering your words. A possible definition for thoughtsteading?

    1. shoutabyss,

      Very interesting. I didn’t know the Clint Black song, but when I watched the official video I was reminded of the film “August: Osage County.” I suppose thoughtsteading can take a multitude of forms – endings as well as beginnings, harvest as well as planting, and a few bad years in between.

      As for fences – there’s nothing like knowing where the boundaries are. Or the cattle, for that matter…

      I’m glad the imagery appealed. Thanks for stopping by, and for the introduction to a great song.


  22. Wonderful poem! Full of rich imagery. Very appropriate and beautiful photo, too. Evokes a contemplative mood. Both the photo and poem appeal to the solitary in me… Also, learned something new: the etheree… Thanks for sharing, Linda…

    — Matt

    1. Matt,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem. I enjoy reading haiku, but I’m more inclined to write an etheree, although I’ve tried my hand at both.

      There surely is something freeing about that kind of space – I could enjoy life in a place like that. As you’ve so often mentioned, the trick is finding ways to include some of the virtues of such a solitary setting into the lives we lead on a daily basis.

      So nice to have you stop by. My regards to Jojang.


  23. “Staking a Claim” on the prairie stirs an all-time longing. Reality inevitably sets in, however, with thoughts of unfriendly critters, large & small; lack of modern plumbing, AC-heat & Whole Foods around the corner; recurring dream, nonetheless…

    1. Lindy Lee,

      You know, if it were forty years ago — even thirty — I might give it a go. But increasing age brings new considerations. What I could do even ten years ago isn’t quite so easy, and in another ten I don’t think I’d want to be splitting my own wood. I could cope with the critters and plumbing, but that’s really only the start.

      Still, as for you, the dream is there, and the truth is that many of the qualities necessary for prairie life, such as a willingness to work and an ability to tolerate solitude and silence, can transform even an urban life. Or so I like to think.


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