Everyplace is Home to Somebody
In the week before Christmas in 1989 we were on a
cross-country homecoming trip. I had
taken a promotion four years earlier that involved relocation to Nevada. This much happier trip was the journey back
home as I was again promoted, but this time to our Corporate Office in Green
Bay. Steve Bacon, our Quality Control
Manager was also moving to the Corporate Office so we agreed to drive together
– at least as far as the southeast corner of South Dakota. That’s where he was originally from, and it
was where he was going to spend Christmas with family before completing the rest
of his trip to Green Bay.
It was early in the morning when we left a cloudy and
cool Henderson, Nevada and drove north to Salt Lake City to catch Interstate 80
and head east. Darkness settled in as we
made it to Wyoming and were greeted by the first snowstorm we had been in for
four years. After driving in the dark night
and swirling snowflakes we were all relieved to see the lights and exit for Rock
Springs. It was a welcome opportunity to
get off of the slippery highway, get something to eat, and have a rest.
When we got up
the next morning it was a rude awakening.
There was about 10 inches of fresh powder on the ground and the
thermometer couldn’t make it above zero.
I actually had to walk over to the gas station and buy a snowbrush and an
icer scraper as we hadn’t needed one living in the desert.
On that second day the plan that day was to drive as far as North Platte, Nebraska, and from there to head due north to Interstate 90. We would then follow that freeway east to Steve’s turnoff. He asked if he could have our son Nathan ride along with him for company because his cat was no longer speaking to him.
I was more than a little skeptical when the road Steve turned north on what proved to be a small, two-lane that appeared to be one of those 'roads less traveled', and perhaps for good reason. The road went up and
over some small hills and passed a very occasional cottonwood grove but I don’t
remember any towns. It didn't have many, if any, curves because there was nothing to go around. The only other thing
on the road was an occasional little ground cloud of snow smoke that the wind
blew across it. All there was to see was
miles and miles of snowy and apparently empty plains.
I recall that I had just looked over at Michelle and
was asking her if she had ever seen such an empty stretch of nothingness in her
whole life when Steve caught our attention as he drove ahead of us by a couple
hundred feet. He was pumping his fist in
the air excitedly. About the time we
started thinking “temporary insanity” and wondering about Nathan’s safety, we
saw it. It was a plain white sign with
black letters nailed a little crookedly to a roadside cottonwood tree. It simply read, “South Dakota”. It didn’t strike us as impressive, or even
all that welcoming, but to Steve he was home.
Seemingly endless nothingness to us, but it was everything to
Steve. Everyplace is home to somebody.
We saw it again at our backyard bird feeder these past
weeks. No sooner had the redwings and bluebirds
and indigo buntings and white throated sparrows moved out and headed south than
the juncos moved in. This is their “south”. They have spent the warmer months way north
in the endless conifers of Canada, and now they have settled right in to spend
the winter with us. Nothing stays
abandoned in nature. Life always
overcomes and fills the emptiness because creation magnifies its Creator. Everyplace is home to somebody.
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” John 14:18
His Peace <><