Where are you from?
At the end of March i had the privilege of speaking at and attending a conference called Rural Women on the Western Edge in Dickinson, North Dakota. It was a great conference full of getting to know other rural women and learning together.
The last speaker made me think the most. Her name was Jessie Veeder and she ranches with her family outside of Waterford, North Dakota. The question she asked stuck with me. She asked “Where are you from?”.
As an example she answered that question for herself, in this most eloquent, lovely way that showed us, the listeners, her heart.
It wasn’t that she just listed her parents names, the town where she was from, or even the name of her family ranch. It was this beautiful combination of description, unique sentence structure, visuals and more.
It took me quite a while to really think through that question. Where am I from?!
For those of you who know my story, you know that I was raised in Mount Shasta California, attended college in San Jose California and then moved to Montana to complete 2, 3 month internships and never left!
So, yes I was born and raised in California, but that state doesn’t feel like home anymore and has only a part in defining where I’m from.
So I thought I’d try to answer that question and started writing. I doubt that I can be as succinct as Jessie was, but these are things that make me who I am and define where I’m from.
I am from...
From immigrants...strong women, patriotic gun-loving men, educators, ranchers, adoptees, broken people mended by faith in Christ, gardeners, and the descriptions could go on and on.
From tree covered mountains, the smell of the woods, and boulder and river rock-bedded streams. Taking picnics to the river, waiting for my dad to fish back to us, soaked in Skin So Soft an ineffective attempt to ward off the mosquitoes.
From moving through sadness and the loss of my mom when I was 13 to moving many states away as an adult, because of a childhood dream of wide open prairies flanked by Glacier, where I could ride my horse without meeting a fence.
From hesitant curiosity as I moved farther from mountains and closer to unique and intrigue producing landscape all because the man I loved had a dream to farm and carry on a family legacy.
From feeling less at home in the place of my birth and more at home under the Big Sky of Montana, with its harsh and threatening wind chills to its hot, arid, and physically taxing summers.
From abandoning all care and concern and diving head first into farm assimilation. Chasing cows, becoming a go-for, becoming a top notch fence mender, learning independence like never before, and tearing through any preconceived notions of what I can achieve, learn, and succeed at.
From driving a pickup as my largest vehicle to feeling confident behind a huge, 35,000+ pound, combine.
From experiencing my own animals mainly as pets, to appreciating them in a new and specific way...a way to keep my children fed, a way to pay the bills, a way to stretch me beyond any capacity I could ever imagine, and learning to value them even more.