“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace”.

As I drive past the quickly changing Nebraska landscape that has been scorched by the summer elements, I think about the words of the Midwestern author Kent Nerburn. Yet again I find a metaphor for my own life while contemplating the landscape of my native land. There is something so prolific about understanding that we always reap what we sow. It’s karma. It’s really very simple.


This is the time of year when the sweet smell of corn in the air is replaced by the scent of dried husks and soon local grain elevators will be spewing corn dust that will fall like snow flakes in the autumn sky. The days are hot but the evenings are greeted by low hanging moons and cool breezes. At the big box stores in the big cities, Halloween decorations and costumes have been merchandised for weeks already but in Holdrege people don’t consider the holiday until bright orange pumpkins start littering doorsteps and Farmer’s Markets. Harvest has always fascinated me. It’s a time of year when things die yet it’s also the moment when farmers benefit from their hard work.

While driving yesterday I took a moment to turn off the paved road and examine the change of season that so intrigues me. 

The fine yellow corn silk that has turned brittle and almost black in color…

County Seat Living corn cob

County Seat Living corn cob2

The skeletal fields of corn that were once vibrant and green…

County Seat Living cornfield2

The rods of wheat that still stretch to the sky with a bit of promise…

County Seat Living wheatfield1

County Seat Living wheatfield2

The encroaching red colors of the local sumac…

County Seat Living sumac1

County Seat Living sumac2

I came back to Nebraska for a six week stay at the beginning of 2K11. I can’t believe this is my fourth harvest. As I mark this change on my life’s calendar, I honestly don’t know how that makes me feel.

I do know something for certain; I love experiencing the change of the environment. I always felt like that was something my life on the West Coast was missing; when you live a vagabond life, you need SOMETHING to mark the change of time. For that, I am grateful for another change of seasons.

When I acknowledge that gratitude (which is often) I turn to a resource to document that feeling, that thought, that memory. For the past twelve years, I have had journaled my thoughts of happiness.

FYI: I don’t subscribe to the noise of the self-help industry. Oprah Winfrey did not encourage me to start a “Gratitude Journal”. And at times in my life, I DO afford the luxury of a negative thought! That being said…

County Seat Living happy journal1

Every day, I simply write down ten things that have made me happy throughout the day. I think it’s simple and honest.

County Seat Living happy journal2

County Seat Living happy journal3

County Seat Living happy journal4

I have stacks of journals that hold these thoughts. My current journal is a handsome Smythson diary that was given to me by a fantastic woman named Lara Hoffman.

This Smythson Featherweight Paper Diary is made of cross grain leather and has my initials thanks to Ms. Hoffman. It’s also embossed with the words “Make It Happen” on the cover. I love that.

County Seat Living happy journal5

County Seat Living happy journal6

As many thoughts have dotted the pages of this journal of happy thoughts, I end today with a local favorite…

County Seat Living happy journal7

I suggest you do the same. Write down ten things today that make YOU happy.

As seasons change, don’t let life or gratitude pass you by.

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.