Nebraska Center for Writers

by Lisa Knopp


... And I surrounded myself with tangible reminders of home: dried stalks of big and little bluestem. clusters of cottonwood leaves, ceiling-high paper birch boughs. the brown-and-black-striped tail feather of a meadowlark, the segmented abdomen of a fossilized trilobite that once drifted in the Paleozoic sea that covered what is now Nebraska. In the office in my house I hung a large road map of Nebraska and a photograph of the Sower, Lee Lawrie's twenty-seven-foot bronzc statue that tops the four-hundred-foot central tower of the Nebraska capitol. This slim, muscular man carries his seed bag slung over his right hip; his left hand is cupped, ready to sow, He stands on a gold-glazed tiled dome: ripe wheat fields or the grasslands in autumn. Over my desk in my university office I hung photographs of a sod house that once stood in Custer County. Nebraska; of Omaha dancers at the Pine Ridge agency in South Dakota in 1891; of the Ponca chief, Standing Bear. He stands before a fake rock covered with fake foliage and a backdrop painted with what looks to be a rugged seacoast: not Nebraska. His hair is long and adorned with a large white feather, a bear-claw necklace hangs from his neck, his left hand grips a tomahawk, his shining eyes look faraway.

I was in the estranging-place, but I was not of it. I was of my belonging-place. but I was not in it. I was a soul separated from its source. I was homeless.

Reprinted with permission
from The Nature of Home
Copyright © 2002
by Lisa Knopp
U of Nebraska P

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers