Flint Hill Flowers

Making my way back from Topeka
at the fading end of a long day
in the middle of the week,
I kept catching passing peeks
of brilliant yellow blooms
as I moved along I-35
through the Flint Hills
at seventy-five.

Knowing I was still
two hours away from home,
I was reluctant to pull over
but then remembered
there was no one there waiting on me
and if I wanted to see something
closer than I’d seen before
it was going to take a bit more
than a passing wish.

I pulled off onto the shoulder
and crossed over toward
the rocky slope of a small bluff
that was just high enough
to catch the slanting sun.
Soft leather loafers
weren’t meant for crossing a wet slough
but I knew that finding truth and beauty
is worth a pair of muddy shoes,
especially if you can pick your way through
the highest parts of a low run.

I found small mounds
of brilliant yellow blooms,
half the size of a man’s hand
lifted on short stems
above a base of green leaves
rooted into the thin rocky dirt
that skirts the cuts made
to bring the road through
a place of long rolling hills
in the vast grazing of native grasses
worth more than a glance in passing through
the view of evening sun
now settling down behind a distant ridge.

In the closing light of coming night,
when miles of green
fade from brighter sheen
to softer tones of more gentle sight,
I walked about a bit just beyond
the woven-wire fence staked to steel posts
and noticed several more types
of bloom and stem;
some bright and blue,
some white and yellow
and one type of white bell-shaped clusters
with fine lines of darker color
mustering into the center
in a way that reminded me of catalpa blooms.

I had stopped for a single flower
looked around and found at least a dozen more
in less than half an hour.
There’s no telling how much truth and beauty
we might find right around us,
were those the things we looked for
more than the other.

H. Arnett

(I invite you to see several pictures of Flint Hill Flowers on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DocArnett )

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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