Winter came suddenly here. The world moved from autumn to winter in about four hours one afternoon. Snow was in the fields at home before the corn was out. My father and uncle worked in the cold morning the day after it fell to cut the stalks they’d grown since spring and to bring the crop in.
Their father had worked that land as his father had. Now my father and uncle are taking their turn to enact the annual rituals of the harvest, whether in rain, shine, or surprising snow.
I was not there that morning. I was a couple hundred miles away in my office. The space heater was running. I was comfortable enough. And yet I wished I’d been where they were, listening to the combine roar.
Though I’m far from home, I am thankful to know where it is: in the fields and in the streets of the little place that formed me. Knowing where home lies is a privilege. In a highly mobile society, one that encourages us to view even intimate personal relationships as transient, I am fortunate to have a spot on the earth to return to. Many people do not.
I am thankful for more than just a place, but also for the people who lend that place meaning: for my parents, my wife and daughters, all my friends and family. I am especially thankful for a great-grandfather who, when he perhaps could not imagine what his actions would mean for me or his great-great-granddaughters, bought a few acres of Indiana soil and in so doing sunk an anchor in the earth that would hold through generations.