Yesterday the weather was gray and damp as I drove through rural northeast Missouri and the landscape provided a lonely scene. The light was just beginning to diminish as I passed this lone tree that was brought to life by the chatter of blackbirds. The flock had just descended on the corn that was left after the harvest. The community which was supported by the railroad and by family farms is presently little more than a ghost town. In strange contrast, the rich, fertile soil and nature still provide an abundance for the thriving wildlife. After a holiday season which is too often lost in commercial consumerism, I am so grateful for the “awe” provided by the earth.