My friend and I are driving back from a meeting at Emporia on another hot summer day. We make our way south and west on I-35. Herds of cattle stretch out across the miles of pasture on either side of the highway. Thanks to a series of rains, a rich greenness still holds to the hills and slopes except for the sections where outcroppings of limestone and shale break through.
Desiring a longer view, we pull over at the overlook by the loading pens. The pavement ends at the gravel just past the northern ledge of the overpass and we park near the rusty railing.
A slight summer haze fades the farthest hills into shades of blue. Perhaps twenty miles away, the last visible ridge to the north has a darker shade. Between there and here, hill after hill, slope after slope, raise their deepening ripples of native grasses. This is the largest surviving stretch of tallgrass prairie left in North America, at least according to the bronze plaque fastened to the cut boulder in the parking area.
It is easy enough to believe when you can see this far in every direction and everything you see below the level of the sky is green. I climb up on the railing and sit for a few moments, like a farm kid on a fence. All I need now is a stalk of grass to chew on and a straw hat; I could almost believe that I am eight years old again. My friend grins at me, sharing without speaking the peace and beauty of this good place.
I close my eyes for a moment, feel the warmth of sun and the moving of wind against my skin. Very soon, we must be on our way to duty and obligation. But for now, we will absorb the peace of this moment and silently praise him who has made all good things, him who sends his rain upon the just and the unjust.
And who thereby feeds the cattle of a thousand hills.