A funny thing happened in Kansas.

For years, seven to be exact, I’ve rather longingly dwelt upon my beloved state. Laugh if you will, but Kansas is beautiful, and she has carved and whittled away at me over the years. She’s worn me down and toughened me up. She’s left me alone. I was awfully lonely in Kansas, and I started to believe that loneliness was my natural state. Kansas seemed to affirm that in so many ways. But this time around things shake down differently. It’s like I woke up and realized I’m not pining for Kansas. I don’t need her in the same way I did before.

Chalk it up to stage of life, to age or distance—I couldn’t tell you myself. Maybe it takes seven years to make a family. Right now, with John and Jonah camping out in Columbia, MO, on their way back to northeastern Ohio, I see that they are where I want to be.

And really, this post should be called cottonwood, but no one would get that. The cottonwood is emblematic, not only of Kansas soil, but of my own. I came across this picture, and it make my heart ache the way the prairie and the frighteningly open skies make my heart ache, in a mortalizing (yeah, I know it’s not a word) sort of way. The way looking at your child some days can break your heart—for love, for loss, for change. Good hurt.

The person who took this picture says it is visible on GoogleEarth (40 degrees 39 minutes 7.37 seconds north latitude, and 98 degrees, 59 minutes, 16.58 seconds west longitude). Another curious revelation: most photos I post get a good dose of desaturation before they fit my scheme. So many are too bright, their colors glaring. This is the first I didn’t need to tone down. More evidence, I guess, that Kansas has had her way with me.


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