My journey into Oklahoma and the prairie, Mennonites and Cheyenne and oil and manifest destiny, is far from over -- yet the people who can make that journey richer are all but gone. So many little stories from one moment to the next in our lives, and 99.9% of it is erased seconds later, the truth hazier and less true with each breath.
The story I will most remember is driving the backroads of red-dirt wheat fields in the fall of 2009. My great aunt said that, while growing up, you could know whose farm you were on by the sound of the windmill; that on still nights she could not fall asleep, only able to drift off once the breeze picked up and the windmill began turning, creaking. Moments later she told me the low German Mennonite words for "chicken shit." Listen to the windmills in your life -- but don't fall asleep, stay awake, strain to hear the pattern, live harder in a place for every second you can.
|Marjorie Janzen Heinrichs on the left.|