Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Women of Atlas—Song Through the Storm


Women gathering to nurture women.

Inspired by the devastation of the Atlas Storm (that I wrote about in The Blizzard that Never Was), the organization Rural Women in America of Bowman, North Dakota created a day of inspiration, art, laughter, tears, and friendship for women in western South Dakota.

Women of Atlas © Sandy Rhoden, Meade County Times-Tribune

Women of Atlas © Sandy Rhoden, Meade County Times-Tribune

“Saturday was spectacular. An afternoon of laughter, and a few healing tears,” wrote Missy Urbaniak. “A sense of validation. That, yes, we had been through something hard.  We deserved something special. Just for us. This is a very foreign idea to women of the prairie!”

I am grateful and honored to be included in the event. I couldn’t attend in person, so I arrived via video and spirit, speaking on, “Song Through the Storm.”

There’s a passage in Meadowlark in which Daisy Standing Horse shares Song with Grace.

Meadowlark: A Novel

Meadowlark: A Novel

“Every place, every creature has their own song. You just have to listen for them. You have your own song, Grace. Deep within you. Most people live their whole lives and never listen to the songs of life, not their own or any around them. Scares them too much. It’s easier to go through life living the way everybody else expect you to. But when you’re listening to your own song, Grace, you feel deep peace, right here.” She reached out and placed the flat of her palm on the center of Grace’s chest (p. 176).”

When I settled in to make the video and knew it would be cold in South Dakota, I built a fire in the fireplace for all gathered and started taping. In recording after recording something went wrong or didn’t feel right, and I started again and again. At last, I thought of family and friends, I thought of those I love and how life was transformed by the blizzard. I saw their faces, felt their presence, and imagined we were there together—and spoke. This is the video included above.

Rural Women in America and Reneé Rongen © Rural Women in America

Rural Women in America and Reneé Rongen © Rural Women in America

In “Rural Women in America Provide Special Time for Ranch Women,” Sandy Rhoden of Meade County Times-Tribune describes the day:

Live, Love and Prosperwas what took place in Union Center on Saturday afternoon.

This was a day prepared especially for the rural women who endured the storm, Atlas, in one way or another. It was a day packed full of activities that was sponsored by Rural Women in America.

Mom (Joan Wink) speaking at Women of Atlas.

Joan Wink speaking at Women of Atlas.

Katie Dilse welcomed the women and got them excited about their special time together. She introduced the main speaker of the day, Reneé Rongen

Rongen is a dynamic, motivational speaker who incorporates humor and life experiences into her presentation. Her book, “Fundamentally Female,” was given as a gift to each woman in attendance.

A presentation, via video, was given by Dawn Wink. She talked about her book “Meadowlark: Song Through the Storm.”  Joan Wink gave an introduction of her daughter before the video and then answered questions about her grandmother, Grace, and the book. The book surrounded the topic of life on the Prairie and the challenges in Grace’s life.Rural Women in American’s mission is to inspire women by celebrating, cultivating and connecting their heart and souls with other women living in Rural America, empowering them to unlock their greatest potential.” more…

Meadowlark and Song by  Jodi Shaw © Kerry Frei

Meadowlark and Song by Jodi Shaw © Kerry Frei

Artist Jodi Shaw shared a piece of her art inspired by the conversation about song in Meadowlark. Kerry Frei ordered a custom piece for her daughters and Jodi’s physical expression of these ideas brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw…and every time since. 

The energy of the event carried across the miles. That afternoon, I closed my eyes and thought of all the women gathered, I thought of the heartbreak that has been a palpable energy of the land ever since the blizzard. I felt the tears and laughter. I felt the healing.
Deep gratitude to Rural Women in America and for creating this day of inspiration, healing, and song for women.
Live Your Song by Jodi Shaw © Jodi Shaw

Live Your Song by Jodi Shaw © Jodi Shaw

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

10 thoughts on “Women of Atlas—Song Through the Storm

  1. Pingback: Dewdrops Birthday | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  2. This was really great, wonderful pix of both of you!! Thanks for keeping me posted! Love to all with you, Micki

  3. Just beautiful Dawn. I hope you have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  4. Dawn, touching, beautiful. Your strong, caring, loving support through your video for the women in that group shows clearly. I really liked the way you wove the stories from Meadowlark into the stories of life on the same prairie today. You are indeed a gift.

  5. Never forget you have a fan here in Central America. Tnx for sharing. Touched poems and info.

  6. I just love every single thing you post in your website. It really encourages a Guatemalan woman like me to keep things up. Ross Kcres

  7. Winkie, I am so proud of you!! Great photos of you and your mom…..I know she is thrilled about your book on many levels. Fascinating……great support and very strong women who seem to endure through anything! “So cool”….as little Wyatt would say.

    Love you, Nancy

    Sent from my iPad


  8. Thanks so much for sending. Dawn. How beautiful to see women coming together like this. How wonderful that you and your mother share so much.

    I sent to the Book Club and a couple of friends with Dakota connections.

    Meredith Machen



  9. Deep gratitude to you, Dawn, for sharing your spirit and your wisdom with the women of Atlas. You are a gift!

  10. This is absolutely marvelous, dear Dawn. Thank you, as always, for sharing your experiences with us. They add so much to my understanding of LIFE.

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