By Lisa Loucks-Christenson
Publisher: White Wolf Creek™
Audio: Coywolf Entertainment
A memoir written by Lisa Loucks-Christenson as she covered her outdoor beat covering Olmsted, Winona, and Wabasha countiesthrough the Whitewater Valley in southeastern Minnesota.
ISBN-13: 978-1-59819-396-1 | Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-59818-397-8 | Hardcover
As the seasons passed, the grass wherever I walked was a shade lighter—not greener, a color reserved for newbies—but also taller, thicker, and deeper. It was like staring toward the ocean in search of the horizon; the grass had no visible end. When I walked away, 13 years later, I felt no desire to look back and see if I had changed, for I knew I had. My inner self I was carrying with me, was stronger, more confident, and my goals for this time in this valley, fulfilled. As I took my first step onto the highway, departing the trail at mile marker 45, I did so knowing that the grasslands behind me would forever be a mirror for my experiences.
A woman should stand and be free to go anywhere she wants to go, unhindered and unafraid for her life or of who might be waiting around the corner, ready to sabotage her journey.
Ten Feet Under the Canary Grass will guide you through the canopy of the unknown, pressing the bittersweet rawness of dew-covered grass seeds into your thoughts, the same ones I wore on my lips. The tiniest seeds will catch in the corners of injustice, just as they wedged themselves into the corners of my eyes, redecorating my face and camouflaging any trace of fear, so I wouldn’t lose my courage to continue forward.
This is a story about the eagles who raised their young beside me, cougars who could have killed me but watched me instead, and the people who encouraged me, harassed me, threatened me, and kept me grounded along the way. It offers a trail to my past, my scorecard of wins and losses, one that remains forever rooted in my faith. It is the imprint of a single blade of canary grass that has left a permanent impression on my life.
It took my deepest trust in Jesus to keep coming back when I already had a full workload—to keep walking when nothing good was happening. I considered stopping only once, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’d have missed all the miracles that I finally realized were happening right before me and the opportunities to record and share them with others, encouraging them to go outdoors and witness what is as far away as their first step into the canary grass.
No matter what trail I walked on and what choices I made, the grass always summoned me at the first visible light of day, welcoming me back under its canopy and motioning me ahead with its blade-like arms. It bent and pulled against me, holding me within reach as I left at eventide through the chorus of coyotes and the watchful eye of my old nemesis, the cougar.
It’s hard to believe it took only a moment of my life, a river to keep me watered, a chunk of Minnesotan land, and a passel of people and animals—the most curious souls on earth and the most interesting insects, hawks, owls, and eagles. It was them that gave me a reason to return.
I close this journey deepened, aware of how important this chapter of my life truly was. All the years I walked—happy, scared, broken: this is the map of my path through the maze of canary grass. It was my utopia: a place that required nothing of me but my attendance.