This Land is Our Land

by Stefani on 26-September-2008

My littlest sometimes asks me to get down his "horse's shoes" – a pair  that we found in our yard during the regular course of gardening and playing, years ago. Suburban archaeology. 


They're heavy and rusty and usually reside on a shelf in his cowboy-themed room, but sometimes he just wants to sit and hold them and talk about what used to be. 

He finds it amazing, satisfying, awe-inspiring that there were once longhorn cows here where our house now stands – great horned cows in in an endless scrubby field. There were little houses too, just behind our yard. I know because their Daddy has said that as a boy he use to peek in the windows and even went in a few times. He said there were canned goods, things left on the table, as though the ranch hands had just up and left one day, right after breakfast. They were long gone by the time we dated, but then, and now, I wish I could have seen them – those earnest, brave little houses. 

Along with those settlers, there were Cherokee and herds of buffalo – lean brown bodies and great wooly beasts rolling across this land. It is hard to imagine buffalo grazing the hallowed ground where Wal-mart now resides. 

My little man and I like to sit in the grass and close our eyes and let the homes and toll roads, office buildings and strip malls just melt away. We like to hold those horseshoes and wonder how they wound up here. Was the barn where our yard is? And what became of that horse and it's rider? 

I imagine those shoes dropping, as a ranch hand held a hoof between his knees, brow furrowed in concentration. I imagine the horse's warm breath making trails of smoke in the chilly air has he waits, patiently, for his new shoes. 

I think about that day, decades ago when a pair of work-worn boots walked away, leaving in the dust behind them a set of heavy iron horseshoes that someday a small dreamer would hold in reverence. 

We sit, us two, and we let the wind take us back to the days when this land was not broken by fences and scarred by asphalt. 

Sometimes if we listen hard enough we can smell a campfire and hear the far off sound of hooves pounding, wild across the land. 


Jenny September 26, 2008 at 7:36 am

Beautiful imagery! I often sit and ponder the same scenarios. You all should come up to Georgetown tomorrow for the cattle drive! A little bit of history recreated.

Brooke September 26, 2008 at 8:34 am

I think it is so neat that you live in a place where you actually know a piece of the “history” and can share it with your boys. I love that you are raising dreamers and thinkers with great imaginations. That is what childhood should be about!

Tabitha Blue September 26, 2008 at 8:35 am

What great photos you post in your blog! I feel like I’m right there with you! I love this post, the stories… such history. It’s rich, I like it. 🙂

Sarah September 26, 2008 at 10:30 am

What a sweet post. In our backyard, we find railroad spikes and large rusty nuts and bolts. My kids, too, often wonder about the railroad workers. I often wonder what I will leave for future generations to wonder and dream about.

Kathleen September 26, 2008 at 10:32 am

Beautiful and bittersweet post. I’ve often felt like I was born 150 years too late, I bet your little man feels that way sometimes too.

Kristy September 26, 2008 at 10:50 am

Such a great post.I was there with you.

Katie September 26, 2008 at 11:18 am

Just watched the first half of Into the West…I am planning on incorporating more Western themed goodness into our homeschool days.

Thanks for being such an encouragement to me. I really enjoy coming over to see what goes on out in the Blue Yonder.

Tammy September 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Whenever I drive somewhere with my children, we stop along the road and I give them the talk about what this land used to look like and how it has changed. Thankfully, this sweet beings of mine let me go on and on…

ferroever September 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm


caroline September 26, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Nice post. Makes me a little dreamy!

I loved being able to drive my kids through the wide open spaces out west. Amazing that there are at still some places where you can see a field, instead of a Wal-Mart.

Marina September 27, 2008 at 2:23 am

As always a beautiful post. The history of mankind is so amazing. So long compared to our own sort life spans, but so unbelievable short compared to the age of life itself. I have stone axes from my garden, made by a man 4000 years ago, left in the ground for thousands of years for us to find just digging for potatos. Sometimes I sit with the heavy ax like you and your boy and dream about the time where these stones where not just a curiosity but a really important necessity. Love from Marina.

Amy September 27, 2008 at 8:49 am

I can almost smell it too – the campfire I mean.

Qalballah September 27, 2008 at 10:37 am

A truly beautiful post. Thankyou

hanna September 29, 2008 at 6:48 pm

gorgoeus. I love to think of these things also, who and what was here before me. The pioneers and their hard but simple life they lived.

Jenn October 2, 2008 at 12:10 am

I think you’ve done yet another amazing job of summing up how I feel. I love history; I love going traveling to all the old buildings, setting feet in places that feet have been set for centuries. It’s an amazing feeling, to reconnect to a past time and try to imagine what you would have seen and who you would have met had you been there at a different time. Thanks for writing, I just love your posts.

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