Our week of Christmas celebrations continues, as we spend the weekend at the Cvach family ranch near Midland, SD. Despite our best intentions to arrive early yesterday, the sun was setting as we drove south of Faith toward the ranch. Like the branches on a tree, the road to the ranch became narrower and more winding, the further we drove from town. Already sparse, the traffic became nearly non-existent. As the road gently followed the prairie ridges you could see yard lights from distant ranches twinkling in the distance, a bit brighter than usual due to plentiful Christmas decorations.
A mile from Kim & Russel's house, Wesley stopped the car, so I could let Sox out for a little exercise across the prairie. Kim & Russel have a beautiful new home overlooking Indian Creek. They built the house themselves this past spring, working side by side with Wesley's mom Gaynold and her husband Tony. The home is located a mile or so, from the ranch Wesley grew up on. Wesley's great grandparents, the Miles family, homesteaded across the creek to the northeast on a hillside you can see from the house.
In wet weather, the road to the house gets too muddy for a car, and the family uses a four wheeler to get in and out. But, in cold weather like this, the road is just fine, gently winding its way across the prairie toward the welcoming house in the distance.
I stepped out of the car to let the dog out, and was stunned by the beauty of the prairie sky. The night was clear and crisp, with no hint of wind. In the inky blackness, the stars twinkled with an intensity I've seldom experienced. I felt like I could reach up and touch the heavens. The silence was overwhelming.
Climbing back into the car, I asked Wesley to open the sunroof. Matthew unbuckled from his car seat, and climbed up onto the armrest, stretching his head and shoulders through the roof up into the night. We sat in silence, soaking up the awesome sight.
Matthew asked, "Is that Heaven?".
"Yes, I think it is," I replied peacefully.