I Live In Kansas

What do you think of when you think of Kansas?

The Wizard of Oz? Tornadoes? Wheat? Cows? Sunflowers?

It’s probably something rural, though, right?

It might even be something just like this:

Or is that picture too hilly?

While there are some thing I really hate about living in Kansas (mostly the politics), on days like  today I really love it.

I commute to KU, usually taking one of the two small highways between Topeka and Lawrence instead of the interstate. Not because I don’t want to pay the toll, but because it is pretty. It is a treat to myself to admire the green hilliness for three-quarters of the year, and then watch the wheat grow up for colder quarter . These little highways also offer places to stop and take pictures. In people’s driveways. Illegally.

You can tell that the seasons are turning, because all the great, tall, green cornfields are straw-brown and the late summer weeds are outgrowing the dyeing cornstalks and the freshly baled hay.

These flowers were lining the highway on my entire drive today. They were the inspiration for the trespassing. I had to share them. These lovely little weeds are also taller than I am (about 5′ 5″).  They are bent down because the wind is blowing everything over. Despite the hills we have in Eastern Kansas, we have somehow managed to hang onto the prairie winds.

I am also an absolute sucker for earth tones. Greens and browns have my heart. but there is also no denying the impact of the accenting yellow of the flowers and the blue of the sky in photographs like this.

Isn’t it funny, how when you are standing in a field, you don’t even notice the power lines, but when you pull the photo of the scene up, there they are, front and center, reminding you that you do not live in a pretty Kansan morning vacuum?

I would have liked to take more pictures, and spent more time on them, but the reality is that I was trespassing, and since I could be fined for enjoying these folks’ roadside field, I tried to make it quick.

There’s that “No Trespassing” sign.

So maybe my photographs don’t clear up any misconceptions about living in Kansas. The fact that I live in an apartment complex and work in a local coffee shop and am a students doesn’t really help either. Those things are everywhere. And I know Kansas is not the only place in the country where the city lines blur with pastureland, but it’s one of the things I appreciate most. I can drive a few miles, and be in the middle of greenery and flowers. Or I can go a few more in either direction and be smack dab in the middle of two mid- to small-sized cities with any number of opportunities at my fingertips.

I find it really difficult to remember these sorts of things when I am bogged down with school work, to which my general attitude these days is “Is it May yet?” Or when I am typing a blog post in the Union cafeteria, because I am going to be at school all day long, and there is a guy behind me smacking his food so loudly that if he were standing in that field up there, it would echo. I get so caught up in the fact that I would rather be knitting or mixing some new colors in my kitchen. I want to figure out how represent the colors in the photographs above on yarn. The catch would be to translate them into colors people want to wear and not just a true representation of the photograph. I need to remember that there is time for all that, if I don’t get in too much of a hurry.

These are just some of the things that inspire me, and make me appreciate where it is I live. It helps me to remember that I am finishing my degree for a reason, and that I shouldn’t give in to the tunnel vision, which is something I do all too often.

This is my take-along image this week. What is inspiring you?

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