The richness of freshly-tilled black earth fills the air as the sun rises over Christian County. The morning freight train barrels through town, signaling the start of commerce. The town clock, shrouded in mist, gongs sleepily, ushering in the start of another new beginning. We rush to rouse our babies who we will bustle off to school later. Much later, when they are ready. Today the echo of the train whistle lingers. Suddenly, it’s summer. Ball games, band concerts, summer vacations gone awry. Crickets caught. Lightning bugs let loose. Life’s lessons begging to be learned, big and small. A time for curiosity and exploration. A quest for knowledge ushers in a search for compassion. Soon, the oaks drop their leaves. The maples blaze crimson. Nature’s splendor explodes. The harvest is bountiful. That twenty-yard pass is complete. We’re going in for a touchdown. We revel! We celebrate accomplishment and values instilled. Good times earned through hard work. Prayerful second chances, sometimes third. A wrong made right. A bad decision turned good. Lending a helping hand. Accepting one. Knowing sorrow and overcoming it. Stumbling and getting up. Joy found! The triumph of the human spirit. Finding Faith. Loving family. Being a friend. Now, the ruts run deep in the frozen fields. The train’s whistle a distant memory as the engine winds it’s way out of town climbing to reach top speed. To soar. And the clock in the courthouse tower is striking sharply this time with each resonant gong. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight, or was that nine? I’ve lost track. How did it get so late? So fast.