About eight weeks ago I was notified by “Kansas! Magazine” that one of my photos was selected for inclusion in their 2021 calendar. I waited with anticipation to see my work in print! The calendar has now been published, and this photo represents the month of November:
I live in Kansas, right smack in the middle of the United States. The nearest ocean is the Atlantic, nearly 1200 miles to the east. The Pacific is 1800 miles west and would take approximately 25 hours to drive. I am understandably overjoyed when our travels include a trip to the ocean. The sight of the sea flattened across the horizon thrills me, especially if bordered by rocky cliffs that sparkle with remnants of the sun. I watch as foamy waves meet the shore, consuming every crevice in its path. I try to memorize the sound of endless space – the cry of the seagulls and the breaking surf as it crashes over and over and over again.
When memories of the sea begin to fade, something very similar takes its place. Here in Kansas, miles and miles of land, not sea, flattens across the horizon, its vastness interrupted by an occasional rock formation, farm silo, or grove of trees rising up from the banks of a stream. Prairie grass sways in a gentle breeze, creating waves of a different kind, while the warmth of the sun brightly glows on fields of golden grain. Here, the sound of endless space is filled with near-quiet bliss: the mellow moo of a grazing cow and the distant honk of snow geese as they migrate back and forth to wherever it is they go.
Be happy with what you have… make it your source of inspiration!
We left home several years ago in the wee hours of a January morning to attend a 10:00 funeral that was 3 1/2 hours away. On the drive we passed a beautiful farm where the morning fog was just beginning to lift. Last week we made the same trip for yet another funeral and we passed the farm again, but this time it was a bright summer’s day. I took both photos through the car window with my cell phone. Same farm, different season, years apart!
The following is a re-post of a story I wrote the first time I saw the farm:
THE QUIET BATTLE
Morning fog invades a lovely Kansas farm in the pre-dawn hours of a clear winter day. The fog will lie low for a spell, transforming rest into stubborn courage for the fight that looms ahead: an inevitable skirmish between Fog and Sun.
As Fog hunkers down, it blankets winter wheat and hugs the stubble of last year’s corn which lay dying in the field. It settles itself along the fence that separates the farm in stately fashion and it laces haunting fingers through the trees. It covertly surrounds the silo, the barn, the shed; and forms a luminous halo around the single light left burning to ward off possible dangers tempted to lurk in shadowed corners.
At sunrise, the battle begins. Fog is brave and refuses to yield, but the fight does not rage for long. Sun is a strong and formidable enemy. Flanked on all sides with no place to hide, Fog is swiftly defeated. Forced to surrender, a virtual white flag is waved as it retreats.
When the farm is fully bathed in golden rays, you would never suspect that a quiet battle had ever taken place here.
I’m a Kansas girl, just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz! We have much in common, Dorothy and I. We have both visited places far, far away… beyond the yellow brick road… and yet Kansas always beckons us home.
Kansas is “fly-over” country! As planes fly across the heartland headed from one coast to the other, passengers fail to see the acres of wheat that wave up at them from the wind-swept fields of the great plains. In Kansas, you’ll find miles and miles of flat, fertile farmland with gently rolling hills peaking up here and there—especially in the Northeastern corner of the state near Kansas City.
Born and raised in the rural mid-state region, I have since made my home in a suburb of Kansas City on the Kansas side. The Missouri River divides the states of Kansas and Missouri as it cuts through the heart of our city. With a population of approximately 2.2 million including suburbs on both sides of the state line, Kansas City is a cultural hub and is best known for barbecue, craft beer and jazz.
Kansas City is called the City of Fountains, the largest percentage of which can be found at the popular Country Club Plaza. The Plaza is a European inspired open-air shopping center that is well known for its stunning display of Christmas lights.
Union Station was once one of the busiest railroad terminals in the country, serving an annual passenger traffic of over 670,000 at the end of World War II. Closed in the 1980’s, Union Station set empty until a bi-State initiative in 1996 helped save the iconic landmark.
We have no oceans, no mountains, no ancient treasures to admire in Kansas, which is why I love to travel. As a tourist, I will often turn to my husband and say, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”! But after a few weeks spent “somewhere over the rainbow” in some of the loveliest places on earth, I’m usually ready to click the heels of my ruby-red slippers and repeat the words “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”, just like Dorothy did. Then, poof—I find myself back home in Kansas!