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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Driving rural America

Sometimes a simple drive on unfamiliar roads produces an enjoyable adventure and reenforces a love affair with our vast country.

Yesterday, I decided to explore some new-to-me back roads south of Kansas City. Nothing spectacular occurred and I found no unbelievable views. I did, however, discover quiet beauty, history, an abandoned home, flowers, birds and the joy of adventure.

I saw a sign on a farm dating back to the 1850s. Recalling the history of the area, I wondered what part the farm played in the Border Wars between Kansas and Missouri in that decade. Long before the official beginning of the Civil War in 1861, abolitionists and pro-slavery forces vied for control of the two states. Did this farm see any of the bloody skirmishes or vicious shenanigans played out on both sides of the conflict? There were few saints caught up in those battles.

A little further down the road I found an old abandoned house and wondered about its history. My writing partner, Joyce Faulkner, and I often muse about the stories that houses and buildings could tell. My mind turned to a tour of the Missouri State Prison (in Jefferson City) that I took several years ago. I recalled my fascination with the stories of lives played out within those walls. What secrets did this little house hold? Is there anybody alive that knows anymore?

The farms along the way are decked out in vibrant spring greens and yellows. The trees are still birthing new leaves and the soft greens fill the landscape. I love spring but I know that in the fall these same views I photograph today will have a different splendor.

I spot a number of bluebirds - a real find this season. I've never seen as many as this year and I'm completely enchanted. I see several cardinals and I think about the redheaded woodpecker I saw the other day.

The sky remained overcast during my adventure but I felt sunshine
Redheaded woodpecker
in my heart.

Along the road

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