A Gift on the Prairie

Happy Easter!

The other day my [amazing, wonderful, talented, hard-working, super-awesome] mother-in-law and I went on a walk. The weather was unbelievable for the middle of April. The temperature was near 80 degrees, and the wind was barely blowing, which is a rarity in this part of the country. Our goal was to find the South Dakota state flower: the Prairie Pasque, more commonly known as the crocus.

I have lived here for a decade, if you can believe it, and yet I had not seen a pasque flower. When I was in 4th grade, my grandfather was doing a pastoral interim in Bowdle, SD, about an hour away from here. On a trip to visit him, he took my sister and me on a walk through the untouched prairie to see the delicate spring beauty that is the Prairie Pasque. Where I grew up, in farm country right outside of Sioux Falls, there was little to no land that had been untouched. Nearly every acre had been developed or tilled. It was not an environment for our precious state flower, but I knew there had to be some in the river hills surrounding the ranch.

So, in the hopes of finding these flowers, my mother-in-law and I set out on our adventure. This meant we had to go on quite a walk, open a barbed wire gate, and crawl through an opening in another fence before hopping over a muddy path. It was quite the obstacle course for the both of us, one of whom is pregnant (it isn’t my mother-in-law). At first we veered to the south side of the hill we were on, mostly because it was the side we were already on, and we were hoping to not have to cross the muddy road in walking shoes. We didn’t find a single flower on that hill, but my mother-in-law suggested that maybe they don’t grow well on the south side and that maybe we should check the north side. And let me tell you what! Boy did I squeal like a five-year-old at Christmas when we spotted that first flower. It was so exciting! There it was, so sweet and delicate standing all alone on the northern side of that hill.

After finding that lone ranger, we decided it would be worth it to cross the muddy road and head north. The surprise we found was unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. The hill was carpeted with flowers. We couldn’t believe our eyes. As I stood there looking at all of those flowers, I was utterly amazed. This was the day before Easter, and it seemed like the perfect Easter reminder. Those river hills are rough. In some spots, they are quite ugly and barren. Little for vegetation grows on those unruly, wild, wind-beaten hills. However, for some reason, these little purple flowers that can grow nowhere else, that cannot be transplanted (very well at least), that only blossom for a short period of time, grow in this unruly terrain. They bloom right there on the north side of those hills with no protection from the elements, where little else will grow. It’s a lot like the beauty that comes out of the 3 days before Easter. Those days are ugly and devastating. It is unimaginable that anything good could come out of the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ, yet there it is: the promise of Jesus Christ found only through His resurrection. Something delicate and beautiful comes out of something unexpected, much like those little Prairie Pasques growing in such unexpected places.

May you feel the goodness in this spring season, this season that we so rarely get to enjoy. I hope you remember the beauty and wonder that can come from the most unexpected places.

The Displaced City Girl

4 thoughts on “A Gift on the Prairie

  1. I was happy to open my email yesterday to see that you are back, Jaimie. Your post about the pasque flower reminded me of my thoughts about the bitterroot (Montana state flower). It’s such a delicate looking little thing but somehow manages to pop through rocks and cinders at Craters of the Moon. It’s such a beauty!

  2. Glad you are back. Enjoy your blog. Here in Colorado the first spring wild flower is the pasque. A sure sign spring is near. They are hard to find and only last a day or two. Beautiful sight.

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