Growing up in a south Kansas City suburb, I enjoyed as much nature as my fenced-in backyard could handle.
Dad mowed the lawn. Mom grew peonies and irises and sprigs of mint. Birds flew in and out and, when a rabbit family could dodge the mower, they moved in.
On Sundays, Dad loaded us into the Oldsmobile and we headed south on Holmes Road to see the country his peaceful escape from a six-day work week.
Many moons later I followed my cowboy husband down that same Holmes Road to a 40-acre hay field. With lots of love and hard work we made this home for our family of dogs, horses, barn cats and a multitude of wild birds.
I was quickly drawn into Mother Natures web. Over the years I fell under her spell, and by much trial and error and sweat and tears, I learned to take her raw materials to create a peaceful haven. Who knew I had it in me!
I find myself yearning all winter for her warm days and the budding life of spring. I itch to use my garden tools. I design and plan. I view my yard and gardens as an artists blank canvas. I even find joy in arranging my multitude of yard ornaments creating little vignettes in the mulch.
I enjoy sharing my creation with family. I find happiness in the joy I see in my nieces faces as they run free and explore my created spaces. I can only wish my Dad was here to enjoy our country escape.
Our old dog, who loved to roam the fields, kick up quail, swim the pond and lie under the porch swing, passed on this summer.
This summer has been a real kick in the backside. The happy sounds of birds have given way to the crunchy sound of the grass underfoot. The canvas of flowers and shrubs has yellowed like an old oil painting. My artists palette has dried up along with my dreams of a beautiful haven.
It is hard to see the dream and hard work beaten down by Mother Nature.
Yet, so many American families have had to weather hardships more devastating than my burned up dreams.
Over the winter I will have new dreams to dream and a renewed energy for the coming spring. A new canvas to create thats exciting!
It isnt nice to fool Mother Nature! She can be a heavy-handed mistress. But when she smiles down on us what a gift.
Fran Burkhart lives in Cleveland, Mo., in Cass County.