The Order of the Prairie

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The high prairie seems a very empty place to the eye. That is its beauty. Of course It isn’t an empty place. Throughout the day I see how much is happening and how full it really is. As I look at all the uniformity man has laid across this land with its sense of infinite space, I am reminded of my fathers work table and his tape measure. It brought order to our work just as numbers and measurements have marked this immense land. The road is flat and goes on endlessly, but in time you see the patterns men have left behind. The fence post are spaced evenly down the long road. The utility poles bare no randomness as they disappear on the horizon. The amber fields of grain are spaced in even rows. The lines on the highway are straight and equal. County road names count up the alphabet and then double when they reach Z. Those little hash marks that rattle your tire when you stray over the line … they are all evenly spaced and leave a measured distance to the end of the asphalt and that happens to be slightly less than my cart tire width so my road is a bumpy one. I look across the field and see the train track which is nothing if not a well balanced set of measurements. The trains have a temporal rhythm. Coal trains pass, one hundred cars or more pulled by two engines and pushed by two more. I guess at the number but I am certain there is a uniformity to this as well. The trucks roll down the flat prairie roads to and from the feedlots. They shed such a force from their passing that my cart sometimes rolls backward and my face is stung by the feedlot grime that blows out of them. The heart tells me to look past measurements… to seek randomness. Here on the prairie it isn’t easy.

photo 3 (2) photo 2 (3) photo 1 (3)

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