GUEST COLUMN, Jackie Mundt, Kansas Farm Bureau

 

I inherited a love of walking from my mom. As a child, going for a walk was a reason to get out of the house to see what was going on in the world. Now it is a luxury to walk those same roads spending time with my mom and the feeling of nostalgia that comes with reliving a piece of my former home.

Walking is one of the only ways to exercise that I don’t mind, and it has been a fairly constant part of my routine no matter where I’ve lived. During the pandemic, walking gave me new appreciation for the privilege of wide open spaces only known to those of us who live in the country. Walking was part of the rehab from my back surgery a few years ago that opened my eyes to seeing the patterns of nature happening all around me. Lately, I have been trying to consistently walk a few miles a day for the benefit of body and mind.

There is a place near my home, just beyond the tree line in the middle of the road past the perimeter of safety. This place overlooks the horizon in a panoramic as far as the eye can see. It is always a sight to behold sun or storm, rain or cloudless sky, sun rise or sunset. No matter where my mind is at this place pulls me back to the present moment and focuses my mind on the reality of what is happening right in front of me — a sight that refuses to be overlooked or ignored. Seeing that much of the heavens and earth together fills me with a sense of awe. It’s a place of humility reminding me how small I am in such a vast universe.

I enjoy having a place that makes both ordinary and extraordinary views worth your time. Recently, I watched the approach of giant angry thunder clouds bringing hail and lightning toward our home. It is where I stood to enjoy the colorful showing of the northern lights.

Nighttime views from this place are the most memorable. On a cloudless night last fall, I glanced up to find every star in the sky shining so brightly it felt like I could be knocked down by the weight and size of the sky. Outside the effects of light pollution, it’s amazing to experience the full power of the cosmos.

Walking has been a great reminder of the blessings of country life. When people from cities or the coast find out I’m from Kansas, I often get asked what there is to do in Kansas. They don’t mean to be insulting but there is an unintentional implication that there is nothing worth seeing in Kansas, right?

The best parts of Kansas are some of the things most people will never experience or understand. There isn’t much out here, leaving the horizon open to show the beauty of and power of Mother Nature. We don’t have neon lights or electronic billboards, we have endless unique, epic light shows that will never be duplicated. You won’t hear the busy sounds of the city but your ears will be filled with the roar of wind, the rumble of thunder and the sounds of nature all around.

Walking is a routine part of my life on the farm. Each day I walk the same path because it is good for my health and even better for my perspective. It helps me to remember every day that I am fortunate to be in this exact place, living a wonderful life.

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