May 21, 2024

Rural Issues: A season of distractions

Cyndi Young-Puyear

The grass gets greener every day. Asparagus sprouts shoot out of the ground, only to be nipped by a frosty morning. The hyacinths have been blooming for weeks now, as have the narcissus.

The tulips are just getting started as I pen this column. Morel mushrooms are peeking out of the soil in some areas.

Despite the roller-coaster of temperatures and Mother Nature’s last-ditch effort to keep winter alive with one last hard freeze, spring is most certainly gaining ground.

This is my favorite time of the year. It is the time when new life is created.

Tom turkeys strut their stuff for hens while the coots on the pond pair up and the geese begin sitting on their nests.

This is the time of year when Christians celebrate the Savior who died and rose again for us.

After months of planning, farmers will be preparing seed beds and planting the 2024 crop.

Whether you are growing corn or beef cattle, wheat, soybeans, hogs, dairy or any of the other agricultural products that come from farms in the heartland, you know that the decisions you make at planting or breeding are decisions you will have to live with until harvest time.

During this season of rebirth and renewal, I am easily distracted from any work that needs done indoors by what is happening outside the walls of my office or house.

It is more likely due to the season of my life than it because of the season on the calendar, but my distracted thoughts often take me back to the community where I was raised.

A scent in the air early this morning reminded me of recess on the grass playground at my elementary school when the dandelions began to bloom.

Although I have been away for twice as many years as I lived there, Scott County in west-central Illinois will always be home.

High school basketball season wrapped up in recent days. I saw pictures and videos shared on social media platforms of familiar faces on the court and in the stands as the season progressed — familiar because of the resemblance to their parents and grandparents that I knew well years ago when I was growing up there.

The community fully supported their team, and as the state playoffs began and it was evident the team had what it takes to make it all the way, many other local communities joined in to cheer them on.

The emotions rose up and leaked out of my eyes as I watched video of the community from where I came welcoming the West Central Cougars boys basketball team, the 2024 Illinois Class 1A champions, back to town.

I believe every vehicle in the county with a siren and lights was part of the welcoming parade. Led by firetrucks, ambulances, EMS, police cars and the county sheriff’s office vehicles, players, cheerleaders and families rode through the streets and around the square before heading to the gymnasium where it all began.

No matter what season of the year, or of your life, I hope it brings pleasant distractions.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.