Flyover Country

Ferris Thompson sat on the airplane, passively listening to Brother Dave’s chatter. They belonged to the same Masonic lodge and happened to be on the same connecting flight to Denver. Dave was not a very active member in the lodge. He had been the Senior Steward at one time, but had lost interest in attending meetings over the past two years. He had not seen Ferris in quite some time and was anxious to discuss all of the lodge’s problems with him.

“Boy, I tell you what Ferris! I am just disgusted by what has happened to that lodge. There seems to be some sort of dramatic argument at every meeting about the lodge’s finances or how our new members should have to prove up on the degrees. I just can’t stand it. And the bad part is if you get on the internet and have a look around, everybody seems to be in the same predicament. Lodges are falling apart, Masonic organizations are having feuds, and just about everyone seems to complain that nothing’s going on in their lodge!”

“Is that so?” Ferris responded without interest.

“Yup, there just doesn’t seem to be much that could get me back to lodge,” Dave continued as he looked out the window at the Kansas prairie far below the plane. “Would you look at that! The ground down there looks pretty boring, I guess that is what they call flyover country. Can you imagine living in such a depressing place?”

Ferris briefly leaned toward the window to contemplatively observe the scenery before settling back into his seat.

“From up here, the Great Plains do not seem very exciting. You may wonder was made the pioneers even consider stopping there.”

“You got that right!” exclaimed Dave.

“But you obviously haven’t spent much time in the region, because you would know that miles below us is some of the most beautiful scenery on the continent. It is spring time and the seasonal rains produce clear, glittering streams cutting through fields of green grass. Beautiful wildflowers of violet, yellow, and blue are blooming all over. The soil is fertile and the food for grazing cattle is plentiful. It must have seemed like paradise to those early settlers. And even though the summers could be insufferably hot and the winters were bitterly cold, every spring they were reminded of the beauty of the land that they inhabited.”

“Well, I guess I haven’t ever visited the prairie in the spring time,” Dave said apologetically.

“You know Dave, you may find that the concept of spring time on the prairie also applies to Masonry.”

“How so?”

“Well, much like the winter on the prairie, Masonic lodges can become dull and lead the Brethren into discontent. But just as the prairie experiences its own rebirth in the spring, you can experience a Masonic rebirth by attending a degree ceremony, a new lodge, a Scottish or York Rite reunion, a lodge dinner, or reading a book on Freemasonry. Make a connection with some new Brothers or learn something new about your fraternity. You will find that you can create your own Masonic spring time. Maybe you can spread a bit of it back to the lodge by providing refreshments for fellowship or presenting some Masonic education. I challenge you to find the beauty in what you described as a dreary Masonic landscape.”

“Boy Ferris, that is what I always liked about you. You always find a way to relate to something symbolically,” Dave responded with enthusiasm.

Ferris chuckled, “Well, my craft is veiled in allegory.”


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  1. Very good article! It captures the essence of “getting out/putting in” which was told to me upon my initiation into DeMolay.

    Is it possible to reprint your article in my Blue Lodge trestleboard?

    Thanks for your consideration.

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