NAOMI DUNAVAN: Dawning of a new day on the farm

NEWBURG, N.D. -- The darkness of night still filled the room, but delicate light was beginning to peek in. When I awoke, something told me to rise from my bed and to raise the shade. From north to south, my eyes feasted on a pencil-thin emblazone...

Naomi Dunavan
Naomi Dunavan

NEWBURG, N.D. -- The darkness of night still filled the room, but delicate light was beginning to peek in. When I awoke, something told me to rise from my bed and to raise the shade. From north to south, my eyes feasted on a pencil-thin emblazoned red stripe that lined the entire east horizon.

Stunning and heartwarming to say the least!

A song came to mind as I stood at the window. I don't think blind harpist, Thomas Connelian, would mind if I changed one word in his 17th century Irish air. He called it "The Dawning of the Day." I like to think of it as "The Dawning of His Day," since nights probably do await the spark of each of God's new and glorious mornings.

And so, as I watched, I recalled these words from the last time I sang them:

"In the glimmering light, day escapes the night, at the dawning of His day.


A clear and present symbol -- God's love in golden rays.

The birds are winging in the air, entreats our hearts to sing

In the glimmering light day escapes the night

At the dawning of His day."

All sunrises are basically beautiful, but the one last Saturday morning at my brother's farm near Newburg was over the top. It didn't take long for the narrow red streak to pull itself together and roll up into a big round ball of fiery sunshine. I don't believe I've ever seen a sunrise quite like that one.

I went to my brother's farm, as well as the old home place a mile away for opening deer season. Only a few of us actually hunt, but it's now become "tradition" for many in my extended family to gather here on this weekend. With the ones who live on and farm this land, tallied with the ones who came from Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, we totaled 27.

For several years now, the weekend has been an added family holiday. There's Christmas, there's Thanksgiving, and then there's hunting.

This year, not all the harvest was complete, so an additional perk was for my sister and me to ride in the combine cab with a nephew as he mowed down a field of sunflowers. We climbed the steps into the cab and from our high vantage point we could see bright orange sweatshirts and caps all along the roadside.


Our hunters watched the sunflower field with eagle eyes waiting for the combine to scare deer out of the maze. It did frighten some out but not enough for all the guys to fill their tags. When the weekend was said and done, only one buck hung by his hooves on the north side of the Quonset.

As we parted at the end of our time together, we thanked God that our schedules permitted so many of us to return to the place where our roots run so deep they could never be pulled up.

Since it's still deer season, let's focus on these beautiful animals, yet another of God's beautiful creations.

Countless are the ones I've seen this summer as I've ridden along the bike trail in my East Grand Forks neighborhood. I'm on it nearly every day and so are deer of all sizes.

On another of God's glorious sunrise mornings, a beautiful fawn with white spots ran alongside me for quite a spell. And every time I hear rustling in the trees I almost always see a white tail dash away.

I talk to them saying that if they stay where they are and I stay where I am, we'll be just fine.

After Halloween, I read an article offering suggestions as to what to do with your pumpkins instead of putting them in the garbage where they end up in the landfill.

One tip was to cut them up and take them to where the deer and the antelope play.


This year, I had the biggest and best pumpkin I've ever had. I chose a pumpkin grown by Brad Holweger, Hatton, N.D., from a wagon at the Old Red Barn sale held in late September on the farm of Ron and Brenda Gjelsness, Reynolds, N.D.

Frank and Joan Karner, Grand Forks, were there that day and Frank carried my pumpkin to my vehicle. He estimated it to weigh between 50 and 60 pounds.

When the pumpkin had served its smiling purpose on our front step, I cut it up, bagged it, and made three trips on my bike to place the 17 pieces in the grass alongside a curve on the trail.

I'm delighted to see how they are vanishing.

Every time I pass by, more pumpkin pieces have been gnawed by the deer or are gone completely. Very few chunks now remain.

Do deer celebrate Thanksgiving? Probably so, if the season ends and they're not shot. My bike path whitetail friends are having their dessert first and being the one to furnish it makes me feel like I did when I witnessed "The Dawning of His Day," at the farm.

Dunavan's "In The Spirit" column is published the second Saturday of each month. Reach her at 218-773-9521 or e-mail: .

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