My mother, June Schurch, was raised on the prairies of eastern South Dakota. She spent her childhood on a farm with several brothers and sisters, and became a teenager during the worst of the 1930s Depression.

One of Mom’s chores around the farm was herding cattle, which she did while riding on an elderly and amiable horse. Neither the cattle nor the horse moved fast, nor needed to, so this gave Mom a chance to absorb the humble beauty of the prairie.

Mom grew to love meadowlarks, and later she would tell us how much she enjoyed hearing their liquid warbling, and seeing them running across the fields. Each new spring she would let us know when she first heard them. She always referred to them as “she.” She would say, “I heard a meadowlark south of the house this morning. She’s probably getting her nest ready.”

After a struggle with colon cancer, which became liver cancer, Mom passed away in May of 1998. All four of her children returned for the funeral, as we had for Dad’s four years earlier, and we sang for the service.

A few months later that summer Shelley and I returned to South Dakota and drove out to the prairie cemetery where she and Dad were buried. As we stood beside their graves, the air was suddenly filled with the songs of meadowlarks. It was as though the Lord had sent these birds to say, “God remembers your Mom and Dad, and He will come back to wake them up!”

I can’t wait.