When I turned off the highway toward the hills this morning, the land was warm with the long light of morning, and at the same time icy with last night's dusting of snow and frost. Every subtlety of the prairie scene stood out. I gazed at those hills and remembered again what a great gift it was to grow up among them, sheltered in their hollows, toughened on their slopes, and lifted high on their ridges to see for thirty miles or more across the plains below.
I wish everyone could grow up so immersed in the patterns of nature. I have never thought of myself as an outstanding student of nature, and yet in recent years, being paid to observe natural things, I have realized that I see things that others don't. I notice the golden-pink patches of little bluestem grassing the lower slopes. I see where a shallow draw has only snowberry and rose for brush cover, while a deeper one has saskatoon and chokecherry, and another for some reason is bristling with hawthorn. Here and there a clone of aspen throws its fan of slightly spreading trunks toward the sky.
This morning, all the gentle shadings of faded autumn seemed sharper and clearer. The patterns leapt from the scene, and I imagined that anyone could see them, if only they could be here to see.
2 months ago