When Summer Is A Young Girl

Springtime … early summer on the High Plains will have one of two effects on you. Wyoming’s bountiful beauty may inspire words of admiration or you’ll feel quietly awed and perfectly content to remain in that state … completely surrounded by the renewal of life in every direction you look. (Above: Newborn Pronghorn Antelope)

The most beautiful time of year in the “Cowboy State” is when summer is a young girl … like a wee lassie scampering through a grassy meadow.

You just never know what you might find if you treat yourself to an outing. If you love Nature, you never lose your childlike sense of wonder that leads to delightful discoveries.

Brilliant, purple wildflowers thriving on a rock face is a miracle to behold for those who put a little thought into the placement of these beauties. Seeds found their way there, so did water and sunshine. But, so did frigid cold, driving winds and intense heat. We can take a lesson from this. A good attitude, determination and a few timely helps is all we really need to thrive and bloom … even in less than ideal conditions.

This time of year, I am often overwhelmed … in two directions. Let me elaborate a little. We have long winters and when spring and summer finally arrive, we have so much to do. Almost all ranch work is an outside venture. We look around and wonder how will we ever manage to get to everything. While out and about taking care of a very long list of chores, I’m overwhelmed in the other direction … a most welcome one. I find myself surrounded by a huge sky and a wide, wide world. The vastness of it all makes me feel like there is more time and space in my own little crowded corner of it.

What I’ve just described is precisely where I am right now … in the midst of too much to do. A sense of bliss right in the middle of it all is thankfully included when I’m outdoors. Sometimes, all we have to do to get a little relief from the pressures of life is to simply look up, look away and take a deep breath. The smell of clean, cool, prairie air laced with the menthol coolness of sage is all it takes to soothe my anxious soul.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” – no truer words. So, rather than rattle on, I think I’ll just share some of my favorite images of my world this time of year … early summer. I hope these photos do for you in some small way what they did for me when I was there.

The prairie covered with a tablecloth of green velvet.

I took the above photo while I was riding my mare whose registered name is Apple Pi Bluebelle.

When the prairie finally sheds it’s coat of drab earthy hues, she does it with fearless bravado.

We live where the Black Hills of South Dakota leak across the border into Wyoming and the hill-country literally ends where we stand. We have evergreens and aspen at our back – the hill-country then gives way to the open plains … officially called the “Thunder Basin National Grasslands.”

This is the land where my ancestors homesteaded. A shelter-belt of ancient Junipers is all that remains of my great-grandparent’s cabin. There was a time in my youth when all I wanted to do was leave a place like this … and I did. Eventually, I learned what Dorothy did … that there really is no place like home, no place better. I was denied the opportunity to return until later in life. When I found my way back here, I never looked back over my shoulder. This is a grand place to ‘be from’ … but an even better place to stay put.

Just about every place has it’s own unique beauty. I’ve traveled far & wide and I’ve seen much that this country offers in the way of natural wonders … I’ve been to all but four states. Yet, the place my heart yearns for is the land under my feet at home. I hope you’re as fortunate. No one’s life is perfect, but I can say that I’ve been perfectly placed and I try to be like the purple wildflowers on the windswept rock … blooming happily where I’ve been planted.

There is no sweeter scent than Lilacs and no better feeling than to be content. If the fragrance of the Lilac had a word meaning, I am sure it would be ‘contentment’.

It is easy to be grateful and contented when beauty surrounds you and life is as it should be. I hope I’m not forgetful when I most need the scent of the rose … the rose of remembrance.

All photos were taken by Shery Jespersen.

  1. Rene Foust says:

    What a beautiful place to call home. I live on the east coast and I am contented here but my heart pulls for the west – I love it out there. Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are absolutely amazing!

  2. Debbie says:

    My goodness Shery!

    I am just in awe of the beauty you have shared through your photography and the soulful message along with it. They are all inspiring but I have three favorites that speak straight to my western girl heart. The Lilac spilling over the " chippy " picket fence most certainly does bring a sense of contentment. As I gaze at your western sky on fire I can feel the intense western heat seep into my bones and I can smell the sage as if I’m standing right in it. Once again through your blog, I have been teleported back to my home of 40 years in Northern Nevada.

    I can feel that ‘wide-open anything is possible’ feeling one can only really know if they have lived it. I know it well!

    It’s a blessing you found your way back home where your roots run deep. There really is No Place Like Home.

    This desert rose has been transplanted in New England for 9 years. I’ve traded in my dry, cracked hands for softer skin provided by all the moisture in the air here, and I brought along my can-do western spirit. I needed it to get myself firmly planted in a hurry. I consider myself blessed. I have traveled our great country as well, with only a handful of states left to see and have had the good fortune to live in two amazing places the West and the East. I embrace the gifts this side of the U.S. has to offer and I have found they are plentiful if I keep my eyes and heart wide open.

    I live within minutes of the Atlantic Ocean which is my western replacement for " wide open spaces ". When I feel the need to see beyond the tree-tops I can head to the beach or our summer cottage for a quick dose of awe inspiring beauty and some much needed refreshment. Salt air and an ocean breeze will clear out the cobwebs in much the same way as a ride in the wide open out west. The sunsets here are equally breath taking as those out west. I feel lucky to know them both well. I truly feel as if I have two homes.

    I’m so very grateful for your Ranch Farmgirl blog too.
    Just another outstanding post Shery. Thank you!

    I’m with ya…100% Put down some roots and bloom where you’re planted! You’ll just feel better!


    p.s. The new born antelope? A miracle to behold!
    Purple flowers thriving on a windswept rock? Now that’s persistance! It’s what we all need with a healthy dose of love and a little luck tossed our way to make a good life any where!

  3. chris says:

    WOW! Just wow….

  4. Denise says:

    Your photos and commentary made my heart sing. I live in Colorado Springs, where the Plains meet the Rockies, and I get up every morning thanking God for all I see. In the Prairie there is s sublime beauty all its own, if only people will see. Thanks so very much for sharing. You made my day!

  5. Marcia says:

    What a beautiful visit with you! It is the next best thing to actually being there!!!!!

  6. Heather H :) :) :) says:

    I loved the photos. You take beautiful pictures..and these are all from your perspective. In Oregon there are places that take my breath away, too. It’s home and I love it here. 🙂 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Heidi says:

    I would love to live where you live, I can tell that good karma surrounds you and your family with love.

    Keep sharing and writing and taking pictures, you have a gift.

  8. bonnie ellis says:

    WOW! Those are the only words to express my delight as you share your world with me. A brand new antelope, fantastic flowers and bird’s nests. Your fantastic photography , and your beautiful horse. I love to ride and did a lot of it while in the Black Hills. I love to dream with you. Thanks, Bonnie

  9. Margaret Roh says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photos. My husband and I have gone to Wyoming for Vacation for over 40 years and only been able to live around Greybull for 3 years, then back to the Minn, Nebr, KS, Iowa strip of the Midwest. We long to retire in Wyoming and enjoy all those seasons too. Thank you again for the beauty of the clouds and flowers. I have sat many a time just feeling the Big Sky out there. For those who have never experienced it, I would recommend a road trip to wide open spaces and prairie anywhere in the Great Plains. The feeling is unbelievable. Happy Summer.

  10. Julie Wemken says:

    You are very blessed! You live in such a beautiful place. I must visit there sometime. Your pictures inspire me and I do feel a beautiful sense of wonder and joy as I look at them. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us.

  11. Beverly says:

    Shery…..Thank you for sharing your home with us. It is the simple things in life that takes my breath away. I hope to one day visit your world because that is where I truly feel I belong. Many blessing to you always……Beverly

    P.S. Please give that best darned horse in the world a hug and kiss for me! Thanks…….:-))))!

  12. Veronica says:

    Thank You Shery! I know you hear this all the time, You have a way with words and pics. I feel like I’m there, really. What you share is so much appreciated. I live in Ca. near the Delta, not far from a lot of what you hear on the news. You remind me that there is a thriving, beautiful and busy place. If I look a little closer I can find beauty and life here too.
    I have a better heart today, because of you. God Bless & Again Thanks

  13. Nikki Allen says:

    Wow! What beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing them!

  14. Brenda says:

    I would thing looking out over your prairie would give you something of the same feeling hubs and I get when we sit on the beach looking across Lake Michigan or Lake Superior. That is where we take our breaks from our normal chores and work. Although I wish it was out my back door as yours is. Lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Jeannine says:

    Shery, I, too, am back East now but there is a piece of me that will always yearn for those wonderful Wyoming spaces. I visit often, but as we, and Dorothy, know so well–there’s no place like home!! Inhale the sage for me, ijs

  16. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Incredible! Bravo! Thank you!

  17. Mary Ann says:

    Such a beautiful homage to spring time on the Prairie. Loved the color blocks and the new born antelope. I’ll be visiting Montana, North Dakota and Utah the next couple of weeks. My camera is at the ready!

  18. Michele Hieb says:


    Wonderful pics…I can’t wait to get together with my farmgirls and caught up on what I’ve missed:)…oh and I brought a little something back for all of you from trip to IL. See you soon!

  19. Absolutely Beautiful! I so want to travel westward one day. I love my home and I too have ventured but always seem to find my may back. I get overwhelmed with the work sometimes, but then I take a moment and remember it will all get done eventually it always does. But with farming you are never really done, just going on to the next cycle with the next season.

  20. RanchFarmgirl says:

    A couple of gals wrote to me privately about good trail-riding horses for sale and about interesting places in Wyoming to see on their way to Yellowstone.

    As to the first question. I would have emailed you privately, but that needs to be included in your comment or all I get is a name with no way to contact folks. The answer at this time is No, I don’t. That kind of horse is always in demand, even in a depressed economy and in ranching circles too. They’re just not an easy item to find – as evidenced by your veterinarian’s quest.

    Ok, if you’re coming to Wyoming from the east and making your way to Yellowstone, here are stops I suggest: Devils Tower which is just inside the SD/WY border and close to I-90. It just takes half a day and then you can be on your way again. Take in Cody and Sheridan. Sheridan, WY has the largest saddle museum IN THE WORLD in the King Saddlery downtown. Sheridan is a very hip, but all western town. Chic and true to it’s roots. Cody – the Wild Bill Cody museum is a MUST. Original Remingtons! You’ll not see a finer museum of old west items anywhere in the known universe. Have lunch downtown at the old hotel.

    The rest of Wyoming is an exercise in patience for those who need to go from one little town to the next. But, for those who hunger for wide open spaces, enjoy the many hours it’ll take you to drive across this BIG state. Most folks aren’t used to UNcongested country and it can take some getting used to. Let your soul stretch out in Big, Wonderful Wyoming. It’s one of the last great places on Earth. shery

  21. Amy says:

    Hi Shery. My family and I just drove through your area Monday on our way home to Coeur d’Alene after a long, but wonderful trip to the East Coast. I was taken with the beauty of the Black Hills and grasslands right now. It was so green and full of wildflowers! It was fun seeing so many Antelope. What a great picture of the newborn…thanks for sharing.

  22. Rene' Groom says:

    Surrounded by such beauty Shery … I love the pictures. It is like taking a little mini vacation. Thanks for sharing them.

  23. Tammie says:

    No words come to mind that would capture the beauty in your photos.

  24. Le Vern says:

    The photos took my breath away…Spectacular!

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