A stiff breeze bends stalks
across miles of blended grass
as I drive through the rolling plains,
heading east from El Dorado
through the Flint Hills of southern Kansas.
A mix of greens and tans
and hints of autumn shine in the sun
as ripples of reflected light
define the arced angle of shuddering grass—
a silver second in my brief passing.
Jags of stone emerge from thin soil
along the banks where wet-weather runs
make their breaks and turns
through a tangle of roots and rocks.
In greener season drenching rains
can turn a barren bottom
into a rush of running water
that will sometimes over-run the road.
Today, though, in the dry dying of summer,
only a few pools break the twisting runs of rock
beneath the long-shadowed limbs of cottonwood.
Near the top of the last hill before Emporia,
I pause for a look back toward the west.
A red ball sunset glazes the shimmering prairie:
greens and golds, blonds and tans,
and a myriad of orange hues
sift through this shifting view of limber stems
and a seemingly boundless span
where the cattle of a thousand hills
graze their way toward the ending
of this good day the Lord has made.