Monday, April 02, 2007

Prairie Earth*

I took the family on a weekend trip to central Kansas (Salina, if you must know) to hang out with the in-laws for a couple of days.

Driving west on I-70 we were treated to some amazing skyscapes as waves of billowing clouds, the remnants of violent Kansas thunderstorms, passed overhead.

The alternating moments of shadow and sunshine cast on the rolling grasslands made for dramatic and breathtaking views of the prairie springing to life.

It's easy for even life-long Kansans like myself to miss these vistas as we keep our eyes on the highway zooming past us at 80 miles per hour. I personally tend to be more attentive for the flashing lights of a Kansas state trooper than to hillsides painted in tall grass green and redbud red.

But for whatever reason, I noticed it last weekend. And I saw today that National Geographic has also noticed it.

Writer Verlyn Klinkenborg and photographer Jim Richardson (a Kansas native) documented the nation's last stand of tall grass prairie and the cycle of renewal that preserves it in Splendor of the Grass. They were good enough to put the entire article and image gallery online, so be sure to check it out.

And try not to miss it the next time you're heading west.

*Apologies to William Least Heat Moon, a Kansas City native, who also documented this ancient patch of ground in his book PrairyErth.

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1 comment:

Your turn to riff...