March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hope for the Future

John walks across a newly rebuilt pond dam, the bare dirt cracked and dry beneath his feet. 
 When I was writing The Children Are Tender, I carried a camera as I did chores with my husband, the real life Farmer John ("Farmer John" is one of the main characters in the book).  As we drove from field to pasture, I captured Kansas beauty frame by frame, and then spent the afternoon hours at my word processor working hard to paint word pictures that conveyed the blessings of our rural life. These descriptions provided a setting that I think brings the story into sharper focus. 

This pond was twice the size it is now just a couple of years ago.  That's our dog, Annie, stopping by for a drink. 
 Now, however, the countryside reveals a different ambiance.  Two years of drought have caused ponds to shrink in size or to disappear completely.  Grasses are parched and break with an audible crunch when I tromp across the pasture above our house on my evening stroll.  Dust grits between my teeth if my walk takes me down our gravel road.

I find myself wondering what Lydia would make of such stark surroundings. Lydia is the main character in The Children Are Tender, and one of her defining characteristics is a deep love for nature. A recurrent theme throughout the book is her habit of stopping along the road to enjoy God's creation.  Would she be able to find refreshment from the nature scenes I'm photographing now?  Even the trees seem weighted by a burden of suffering; much earlier in the season than normal they began to cast down their leaves like dry teardrops. 

I  believe Lydia would still find beauty.  I don't want to provide a spoiler here, but the story's ending does show that Lydia is a woman of faith, able to hold to hope when circumstances offer little reason to trust. 

It will rain again.  When the rains come we will lift thanks and begin to take blessings such as green grass and growing crops for granted once more.  Meantime, like Lydia, we can find beauty in unexpected places and trust God for the future.  

Through a haze of dust the stark outline of a sunflower reveals sculptural beauty.

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