Monday, May 10, 2010

Pursuing Prairie

It is cold, raw outside and the wind is coming off the prairie at 20 - 30 knots, whistling into the small town where we are parked with our camper. It is a dark, raw day, so we keep mostly inside except to walk our dog PeeVee. For the last few days we have been in pursuit of prairie.

I don't understand it myself, but there is
something about prairie the seems to draw me, to stir my imagination. I suspect it has something to do with orderliness; coming away from the country of precise rows of crops and the almost manicured appearance of improved, permanent pastures. Here in the prairie there is none of that, just miles of rolling green grass stretching to the horizon. There are trees, yes, but they are mostly confined to the draws where small creeks and rivers support massive cottonwoods.

We started in Missouri a few days ago and made a brisk march to one of our favorite spots in the state, Prairie State Park, located nearly astride the Kansas line. There, a herd of some 150 buffalo roam a space of roughly 4,000 acres. There is a space for dry camping in a grove of tree surrounding a small creek. There are few people, little regimentation as is normal in state parks. I am free to be in the prairie -- to imagine I am on the way west in the sea of prairie. Or, perhaps I might just want to find a spot on a knoll and become "Pa", resting from building a soddy for Ma, Mary and Laura.

Presently we reside smack in the middle of the Kansas Flint Hills, a geological formation that runs the north/south length of the state. Prairie exists here because of the thin soils that reject plowing. The result is a carpet of native blue stem prairie grass sweeping over the rolling countryside, that provides perhaps the best cattle grazing in the nation.

We have days ahead for prairie, so to spend today in what the missus calls a "jammy day" is not an extravagance. And, I have time today to muse about prairie. Friends will likely find us here in the next day or two and we'll add some "catching up" to our prairie experience.

Tomorrow's to be a bright day and we intend to use it.

From Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, the Hired Man and Missus

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blues Men at Line Camp Cabin in the woods

It was kinda odd. In our Line Camp Cabin last week there were two parties, both with fellas who play in Blues bands. Now, you have to know that the cabin is "off the grid", meaning that when you stay there you give up at least eighty years, and you are secluded in the trees on the slope of a ridge not far from the river. You pump your water, you light the lamps at night, and there is a worn pathway to the little house in back. In modern terms, the place is "green."

Now, I am not saying that playing the blues might bring one to a need to retire to the woods and shed the skin of city life for a while. But, it could be! What might also be the case, is that those intercity folks may be more receptive to going green-- to returning to the old ways -- just for a time to see how it might be. Perhaps they are a little more adventurous.

Whatever the case, both of these guys and their women have been to Line Camp Cabin repeatedly. And, in one case they reserved a year from now. We can hardly hope that we will hear those blues riffs coming from around the campfire at the cabin then. I suspect during their time here they would much rather hear the birds outside in the day and the coyotes and owls at night.