We’re Not In South Dakota Anymore

Went fishing again yesterday, in a hidden spot nearby. The one past the Hutterite colony, through the cattle gate and down the bumpy washed out road. We were met by some kids on four-wheelers and a Hutterite on horseback, telling us making the trek on pickup might be interesting… and it was.

Riverhills horse in South Dakota
We rolled through holes and a road that has been beaten down by South Dakota weather, but we made it.

South Dakota riverhills
Passing through valley, river as our guide, we made it to the top and took a stop for a moment… and all I could think was I live here.

South dakota riverhills
I had opened the closet door, pushed old clothing aside, and discovered a new land on the other end. A land of new green and quiet crisp air and sober senses replacing the numbed and dulled.

South Dakota riverhills
I live here. And yet, it’s not mine.

South Dakota riverhills
Perhaps that’s what draws us to beauty, wild and untamed… we cannot keep it, control it, mold it, make it ours. One we try, when we pick it, take it, cage it, hold on to it, its beauty withers.

We know this.

South Dakota riverhills

It’s a reminder that this is not our home. It’s to enjoy, to appreciate, to wonder in the meantime. The beauty we find here is incomparable to that which we will find later on.

South Dakota riverhills

It’s that otherworldly ache in our chest, the longing for beauty, the desire for joy. If we’re willing to go that place, that is.

Until then, joy will be created here, in a land I can call my home.

South Dakota me

For now…


57 thoughts on “We’re Not In South Dakota Anymore

    • The Hutterites are a group of Christians similar to the Amish community. In South Dakota, we have over 50 colonies, most relying on farming or ranching to bring in an income. The women hold traditional roles of raising children, preparing food, tending to the garden and keeping the home. They raise their children from birth to five to learn the German language, and after that begin implementing English as a second language. The Hutterites accents are German-thick and sometimes hard to understand. Also, they don’t like dogs around their place.

  1. I love the pictures, as always! I also love all the C.S Lewis undertones (and the allusion to Narnia 🙂 ) I often think about the deep longings of the human heart and how things like beauty and love only seem to make them even stronger. I can’t wait until the day where those innermost longings will be quenched with beauty and love we can’t imagine yet!!

  2. I’m in complete awe of the land you live in! It’s stunning and so hard to believe that we’re a few states away, yet it’s so different. Thanks for visiting my blog today and I’m looking forward to keeping up with yours!

  3. Amazing photos, as always. I had to google Hutterite the other day when you mentioned Hutterite Asparagus and Spinach salad. We have Amish people near our small farm and I was familiar with Mennonites, but now I wonder if there were Hutterites nearby when my father was a boy in Saskatchewan. I’m so glad I know even the littlest bit about their culture.

  4. Because you live so close to nature, you get to experience that emotion so often, yet you never take it for granted. It’s harder here because I’ve always lived in or near a city and I love city things. But when I stare out at the Atlantic Ocean, just three miles from my house, I get that same feeling of being one little part of an amazing Earth. Beautiful pictures, as always!

  5. Your post hit the spot today. It really cheered me up. I love looking at your photos of the beauty of nature and heartfelt words. They serve as a good reminder to honor these precious gifts.

  6. Oh MY! I am SOOOO jealous. These photos are absolutely breathtaking. I want to come to South Dakota; it looks like Ireland right now. I love what you said about not being able to keep or control nature. That is truly what makes it so magnificent (and what conversely makes me so sad – when humans DO try to control it, destroy it, disregard it). So nice to know that places like these still exist. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I was reminded of Ireland, too (even though I’ve never visited)! It’s nice to live in a place where land has been, for the most part, untouched and left in it’s natural state. I think the heavy Native American heritage in this state gives a stronger sense of the importance of respecting land and its inhabitants.

  7. Learning more about South Dakota thanks to your blog. And now Hutterite communities, which I wasn’t aware of. Thanks for sharing so many photos. -Rebecca

  8. You have said it so very well. When you mentioned, “when we pick it, take it, cage it, hold on to it, it’s beauty withers.” This rings so very true. Yet we all seem to keep trying to do so. You do live in a place of stunning beauty. : )

  9. Is it not beautiful, though not our own, we are allowed to live in it and enjoy it, plus share it with others. Lets do that in honour of the Creator of this all, full respect.

  10. Beautiful blog and beautiful life!!!
    I had lovely Russian-blue cat the same as your little one! I miss it so much!

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