Lying here, in the shadows of the hills of Steele City, Nebraska (pop.81) are my ancestors. Strong, resilient people who for better or worse, were committed to the unforgiving land of the plains. Original homestead pioneers, their sons and daughters, grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more in generations too far removed for me to remember are here. Veterans, farmers, teachers, mothers, even a circus performer inhabit my family tree.
Why the first ones chose this land to make a home has been lost to faded memories and time. Now, I am one of the last of this family living here and remembering them, and even I will not be staying.
In this valley, there's a place in this peaceful spot for my return if I choose, in a section with this view. As a child, on yearly visits, my grandfather would stand in this spot, holding my hand, and he and I would just be silent. Then he'd squeeze my hand and we'd leave. I come here sometimes and just drink in this view. It nourishes me and connects me with hearts I never knew but somehow feel.