Friday, September 23, 2016
A prairie autumn by the Little Missouri...
Seventy miles per hour down the highway, hanging out of the window with phone in hand. That's how I captured the prairie autumn as we drove to town. The droughthy year has taken a toll here. You can see acres and acres of short, dry grass all along the Little Missouri. The low pastures show a tinge of green near the river, and the Boxelder and Cottonwood trees are beautiful, golden dobs of watercolor, but pull away in the landscape and there is brown nothingness dotted with mounds of cow manure and prickly pear cactus. It's been worse. There is rain in the forecast. We are hopeful....again.
The first photograph is of the little place we have along the river. We haven't been able to graze the pastures yet this year due to the lack of water there. The river is barely trickling, and besides it for water, the reservoirs are all dried up. It's a rough and rugged place where we live. One moment you think you're never going to make it through while counting the tenths and hundredths of inches of rain, and the next moment the heavens break open and blessed rain heals and renews the craggy, cracked land with a downpour. It's a land where the temperatures can fluctuate 40 to 50 degrees in one day, where there is parched, scorching heat and cruel, blistering cold. I call it The Land of Extremes. We love this land like a mother loves her child -- despite its difficulties and defiance or its tender obedience -- there is unconditional love. When it's green and bountiful, it's beyond belief. When it's not, it's beyond belief.