Winter seems to be in no hurry this year. Sometimes it barrels in before Autumn can retreat with grace and beauty. I remember last year when the weight of snow was an obvious burden on red-tinged leaves. They hit the ground with a thud instead of floating on the breeze and landing like a whisper. But Winter has no urgency this time around, no agenda, no purpose other than the eventual appreciation of Spring. Although Winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21st, days are getting shorter, colder, and gray skies promise nothing except more cold days and gray skies. Winter creeps in and grabs anything bearing the slightest resemblance to color. I’ll welcome a good, deep snow now and then to break up the dreariness, to sparkle in the moonlight when I look out my window in the wee hours hoping to see something besides endless wintering. I don’t mind Winter, really I don’t, but if ever there was a time when it should swiftly slink into Spring – for a preponderance of reasons – it is now! Let’s just get this over with, shall we?
This formation of large limestone pillars is called Castle Rock. It is located on private range land in Gove County, Kansas. The limestone, chalk and shale formation is fragile and may not last many more years. The tallest spire fell after a thunderstorm in 2001. The chalk was deposited in the area by an ancient inland sea. The shape of Castle Rock and other formations in the adjoining badlands are due to weathering by wind and water. I thought the sun added a nice touch to the fascinating landscape.
PS – The road around the castle formation and adjoining badlands is no more than a two-rut path. It is very rough, so please keep that in mind if you plan to visit!
I focused on one subject in all these photos: the Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer, Kansas. This Gothic-style church was built in 1918 and impressively towers above the handful of homes that remain in this tiny town. Not far from the church is the beautiful Holy Cross Cemetery filled with unique grave markers, some dating back over 120 years. Among those buried here are my great grandparents. My ancestors are German, but migrated to Russia before eventually coming to the United States. They settled here in the Pfeifer area and had a hand in constructing this magnificent church which rises up from the middle of nowhere. I am related to a good many of those whose graves are distinctively marked and lie within sight of the church they built and loved.