There is nothing like the sweet fragrance of the piney evening air. I caught myself time after time stopping to close my eyes and breathe deeply. There was a years-old memory I was chasing, buried in the familiar perfume, but I never quite caught it. It was a good memory, though.Clouds billowed from over Harney Peak, which was veiled in mist, and the horizon burned with hues of rose and gold and blue. The air was still, and the hills and trees echoed with the sounds of birdsong. Turkey calls could be heard valleys away – The males are busy strutting for their ladies this time of year. The sharp drumming of a flicker on an old dead tree was followed by a glint of grey and rust, and wild laughter as he flew into a deeper hollow. After a week in the urban plains of Illinois, my heart was aching to be back here, back where the scrubby grasses aren’t yet green and the little prairie flowers are just beginning to bloom. I hungered for the towering pines, the billowing mountain clouds, the long red grass, the golden snakeweed, the rusted barbed wire fences, the red dirt roads, the familiar sight of antelope or elk or whitetails or mule deer, the distant glimpses of the Badlands. I lay on a bare hilltop, watching the sun burning behind the billowing clouds. Perhaps someday I’ll find another place where my heart is this alive, but for now it is here, here in my beautiful Black Hills. I’m so glad to be home – Back home, where my heart sings.