I’m sorry to say this, but I am not enjoying Oklahoma. My husband’s job moved us here and this past
summer was awful. The heat and the lack of rain was so bad. Any advice on making this place feel more like home? –Down and Wanting Out-Elk City, OK
Dear Down and Wanting Out,
I imagine a woman much like you and me, however she is
traveling with her family by covered wagon. They have traversed rugged mountain passes, brush filled riverbanks, and cut their way through a forest of never-ending trees, constantly pressing forward to see what undiscovered beauty might lie over the next hill. Then one day the hills get smaller, the trees more sparse, and the view begins to expand. A couple more days and as she peers out from behind the canvas, she gasps!
Never before has she taken in such a vast expanse of land. For the first time our pioneer woman watches the sun set unhindered by trees and landscape. She stands in awe as the majestic purples and blazing oranges radiate across a sky that seems to never end as the sun sinks down beyond what looks like the edge of the world. These
are the things I try to think of when I start asking , “Of all the places in this whole wide wonderful world, why did
my ancestors settle in this HOT, DRY, FLAT, and BARREN plain???”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not an Oklahoma hater, but with summers like we just had, it is a mighty fine question to ask! Thankfully our feelings can be such fickle little things. What we curse and hate one day may be the very thing we bless and love the next. I’m going to quote my favorite book, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That’s the answer to your lack of heart for Oklahoma. I don’t believe this phrase only applies to treasures of the monetary variety. Let’s face it, many times our finances resemble more of a widow’s mite than a king’s ransom. But there are many other precious things we have to give, such as our talents, abilities, time, and love. I have a deep affection for where I live not because of all the ways western Oklahoma enriches my life, but because of the ways my life and love has intertwined with those around me.
My best offering to you would be for you to begin to give. And again, I am not speaking of money here. You should find a place where others will benefit just because you were there to sing, to smile, to talk, to teach, or to care. If
you are living and breathing, then you have gifts. Gifts that are meant to be shared. We all experienced one of Oklahoma’s most brutal summers in these past few months. It made some of us merely uncomfortable, and to some it brought great hardship. But the sun in all it’s fury pales in comparison to the glittering brilliance of those around you who are better off because you exist. That is your treasure.
Then if the day ever comes that you do find yourself moving on to greener, less flat, less hot, and less windy pastures…you may be surprised at how hard it is to leave, knowing that there will always be a part of your heart, a wealth of treasure, for you in the dry and dusty plains of Oklahoma.
“Real Housewife of Western Oklahoma”
_The Daily Elk Citian_4 November 2011,
_The Cordell Beacon_2 November 2011