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Schreier: Thoughts From Prairie Eden

Out of a dry winter, blades of grass poke through the soil and stretch to the sun. I think I knew this would happen eventually, but I couldn’t believe it. All winter I stared into an opaque crystal ball – white as a blind eye and cold as a blizzard. The perpetual gray plagued my mind and spirit. I retreated into abstraction and found it difficult to be passionate about this way of life. And yet, here we are in a dreamy green world: Cows I thought we would have to sell, brought home from feedlots to luscious pastures; calves saved during the blizzard play in the sun as their mothers graze in prairie Eden. These are the days we preserve, air-locked tight, tucked away in our minds for troubled times to come. Though I know, many ranch folk mourn the loss of life and livelihood as they ride through grasses failing to conceal dead calves, frozen cold in the all too recent blizzard. My prayers are with you as we too have those reminders in our pastures. One thing I know in the ranch world: life goes on. New calves are born and branded, and the grass grows – even if not very tall. I think that’s what keeps us going even in hard times: the evidence of new life and faith that God is doing something good we can’t see.

I don’t want to become hard again like I was last winter. I don’t want to need the rain and sun to melt my icy perspective. I want to feel God’s warmth in the midst of a blizzard – lean into that gentle presence that melts away worry. It’s hard not to worry about the future, especially in a drought, but worrying all winter didn’t add even one tenth of rain to the gauge.

Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 6: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”



Just because the grass is green here in South Dakota doesn’t mean we don’t have struggles. It’s easy to feel like a puppet on a thousand strings held by those making the trade decisions, increasing the prices of operation, and the greed driven corporations that don’t seem to care too much about preserving small family run farms and ranches. But worrying won’t add a single hour to our operations. Peace isn’t the absence of war, but never losing faith within it. For now, I’m grateful to let the sun rest on my face while I sit in the saddle of the present – and by the grace of God, the future too.


Sentel Schreier



Belle Fourche, SD


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