White speckled, fly black, they trot across the crushed yellow grass, thrusting back legs into an open stretch of air. Farm wind snaps hard, rolling across evergreens that bend limber from its push.
I am a visitor to the plains, the northland of South Dakota, small town well-knit with football and community. In the quiet knolls where names roll off the tongues of neighbors in familiarity, a downtown settled in 1920 glints off the early evening light. The sun zig zags its leftover rays while it tucks itself into the horizon, folded over in the expanse of brown-branched trees and dirt-caked creeks.
I spill thanks for the air fresh in my lungs, prairie wind plowing through my hair. True breath. I have not filled my lungs with it in a good while. Have not felt the caring hold of hometown in a harvest and a half. The customary hearts fused together, or opening homes and smiles and struggles in the place that planted you as a small child, seeds of self just becoming green above the soil.
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