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Perils of the Prairie
Outer space, the last great plain to conquer, to "boldly go where no one has gone before." In past ages it was the sea; many ambitious ones today are still excited to explore the ocean depths. In earlier times, the African continent was considered the "last frontier."
Yet, all around the world – from the ocean depths to the depths of outer space – dangers await those spirited enough who dare to answer the call to "explore strange new worlds." If they had not expressed their zeal, their enthusiasm and excitement – if they were not willing to risk their lives, stretching out their environment to the regions beyond, then how would progress and conquest and courage be defined: complacent?
Christopher Columbus, too, answered the call in his day. Paying little attention perhaps to any laughter or ridicule of others that might have been, he set out and proved that the world was not flat. If it were not for such like him of his courage, would we have known of the western hemisphere? He was one who ignited the flame of adventure and travel new frontiers.
Crossing the great seas – the prairie of the water – was no easy trek. As the ships sailed the oceans, who knows what wind and rain they would face?
For the Strong, the Rugged, the Brave
In the "new world," particularly the one of my native earthly homeland, America, it was not enough for some of the colonists to remain on the eastern seaboard. In those early days, too, there were bold and courageous adventurers. And as the East crowded in population, the call to go west was heard, the challenge accepted. Yet, the movement westward, too, was no easy trek. What was awaiting them in the region beyond the Mississippi River? Would it be easy crossing the Rockies? What perils would they face in crossing those prairies?
As a ship at sea would get lost beyond the waves, so a prairie schooner – ship of the desert – could "drown" on the prairie. Some of those making the trip were not strong – their spirit may have been willing, but their flesh was weak. Only the strong and rugged and brave could meet the challenge of the prairie; the old West was a wild country, and lawless.
The Native Americans ("Indians," so named by the first sea voyagers, thinking that they had discovered a new route to India) went into the prairie being so pushed by the white settlers after they discovered the new world and claimed it for themselves.
Indian wars were then a peril the settlers had to combat. There was the danger of buffalo stampedes and prairie fires; perhaps such ignited by the Indians as an attempt to discourage the westward movement. It was a struggle of man against nature; man against beast; and even man against man. Such is so expressed in James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Prairie.
When Facing Perils
Though a matter of "survival of the fittest," crossing the vast prairies of this great land was not an impossible trek. It was indeed for the strong and courageous. Neither is outer space impossible to explore; man has already set foot on the moon, and have sailed to the edge of the universe. This great earth and the far reaches of outer and inner space (the ocean depths) all came into being at God's spoken command. (Read in the Bible at Genesis 1-2; John 1:1-5, 14; Colossians 1:15-20.)
The prairies – of lands and seas, and outer space – all conquerable, yet too all are equally dangerous. They all have their perils, yet a challenge to the rugged and adventurous. Perhaps it's not a challenge for the faint-hearted to answer, but for the strong.
There is yet another prairie, and that is the prairie of life, and there are perils too we come upon in trekking through life's prairie. Yet, such are overcome and have been so, through the Lord Jesus, the Christ (Messiah). He has said that in this world – in this time – we will experience troubles and trials and perils. "Be of good cheer," Jesus encourages. He has overcome the world.
(For further reflection read in the Bible at John 14:27; 16:32-38; 1 John 4:4; James 1:2-8.)
The Prairie: A Tale (1827) is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, the third novel written by him featuring Natty Bumppo, his fictitious frontier hero, who is simply known as "the trapper" in it. Chronologically The Prairie is the fifth and final installment of the Leatherstocking Tales. It depicts Natty in the final year of his life still proving helpful to people in distress on the American frontier.