Oh, the lessons Mom Nature Teaches Us!

Submitted by Art and Barb Straub

Mother Earth lost a great friend with the recent passing of ten-year-old Brogan Schaefer, son of Jake and Dana. Brogan’s family lived in Henderson near a walnut tree during his early development, and currently resided on his great-grandparent’s former farm atop Miller Hill east of Henderson, a home surrounded by trees and overlooking the Ney Center to the north and the Minnesota River Valley to the west. As a result of his parents/grandparent’s interests, and his woodsy environment, he became steeped in the knowledge of Mother Nature from birth on. The Henderson and LeSueur communities and well beyond extended their sincere sympathy and empathy on August 6th and 7th, as hundreds gathered for Brogan’s final rites. He was laid to rest near the hundred-year-old spruce trees at St. Anne’s historic cemetery north of LeSueur.

The Brogan many of us knew seemed to be infused with two questions, “Why” and “I Wonder?” Joining Nature Neighbors at the tender of age of five, he was destined to become a ‘leader of the pack’ and should he have wished to return, his leadership qualities would have lent quality to the program.

Brogan could explain to you how a snake, with its small mouth, would be able to catch and slowly digest a stray toad or mouse, as illustrated by the photo from Marcia and Dave Parrott. He was well versed in natures’ ways. He could share with you the cycle of life, the fine web of nature, illuminating upon an incident in Sue and Dale Boehne’s renter’s beanfield two weeks hence; whereupon a doe whitetail deer was struck by an auto and hurtled into nearby browning beans. Brogan could tell you that the story didn’t end there. Beasts of the field, birds of the air, tiny mammals and wee insects would derive energy from the remains. Finally, minerals from the doe’s body would seep into the earth, enriching the black soil in order that new plants would emerge.

Brogan appeared to bloom and blossom in the beauty of the autumn foliage surrounding his home, lifting the spirits of so many even on the dreary days of October, 2019. Henderson’s Community Center provides a background for the grand maple tree that overlooks the playground where Brogan found fun and enjoyment. He could explain how and why tree leaves change color, which birds fly above Henderson in summer…chimney swifts, barn and bank swallows, or how to tell a soaring vulture from a bald eagle. Clambering down Indian Trail from Brown’s Cemetery, or climbing Alanson Park’s steep hill to gain the top, were mere play for the cheery young lad.

Like the rest of us, we assume he wondered when Sylvia and Sylvan Swan along with their four cygnets would take to the air above Coachlight Pond, or how a fawn changes quickly from wearing white spots to dull brown. That and many other Brogan ‘wonderments’ remain unanswered.

What might Brogan’s passing teach us when we’re asking “Why?” Perhaps this paraphrase from the gospels has a partial answer: “Love is patient, love is kind, never ending; slow to anger, rich in mercy, love goes on beyond all time. Love’s our journey, love our goal, though our hearts are always restless, until love becomes our purpose, new creation to unfold.” (Bernadette Farrell) Brogan Schaefer personified LOVE for so many of us mere mortals. May his life and living be an example to each of us. Schaefer family, peace and love be with you.