” I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down. I feel my heart start to tremble whenever your around…” Carol King wrote and sang this iconic song back in 1971. It was featured on her Tapestry album, along with, It’s Too Late to Turn Back Now, another big hit. For some reason unknown to me, I often think of songs when I see something unusual or that I want to shoot…usually after the image is captured. That’s what came to mind when I down loaded these photos and decided to post them.As soon as I saw the track hoe loading a dump truck, high atop a large rock and earthen outcropping, I knew I had to immediately stop on the shoulder of the exit ramp and take these pictures. I think it was the dark equipment silhouetted before the beautiful sunrise that grabbed me so strongly. Fortunately, I had my camera next to me which is usually the case, as I am an opportunistic photographer. For those interested, this construction work is but a small piece of a giant redesign of a major interchange which includes the confluence of three highways, located in a southern suburb of Kansas City. This construction, know as Gateway, is the largest single highway construction project that KDOT has ever engineered and attempted. It will take about three years to complete. As you can imagine, there will be orange cones, barricades, closed ramps, traffic jams and fender benders to add to the excitement ! Hopefully, the end result will be worth all the effort and cost.
This past weekend we returned from a trip we made to Ft. Worth, Texas, where we visited relatives. There is a section of Interstate I-35 between Emporia and El Dorado, Kansas where the famed Flint Hills are intersected by the highway. The Flint Hills are a geological feature with tall mounds covered with natural prairie grass and gullies cut into the rock. These hills stretch across the eastern portion of Kansas at a North to South direction for 200 miles and are approx.80 miles wide. The elevations vary, but average about 1,400 feet above sea level. They are similar to a mini-mountain range. Due to the flint (chert) near the surface of these hills, farming is not possible. However, the great stand of Blue Stem prairie grass is perfect for cattle grazing. Cattle dot the landscape like trees do mountains at the timber-line. When atop one of the many hills, the visibility is astoundingly far, as if one were looking across a great ocean of blowing grasses. To view photos and learn more, please check out the Flint Hills via your browser as there are multiple sites which display this region.
On our return trip, as we were well into the Flint Hills, there was broken cloud cover. These clouds were moving very quickly. As the shadows of these clouds blocked the sun momentarily, racing shadows swept across the ocean with great beauty. Only a video camera could really capture the essence of what I am trying to describe. A still photograph would give you a static version of a moving thing which would be of some benefit, but it could not convey the race that was taking place. Although we were traveling at the designated 75 miles per hour speed limit, these shadows swept over us like planes. I wanted to catch a shadow, but knew it would be a futile effort so I chased them instead. As the highway would wind and climb then drop and climb again, each group of shadows would laugh at us. They were free of the restrictions of earth and gravity and pavement.
So, I thought as I drove. I marveled at the sheer beauty of clouds and their offspring. I calculated their speed and distance. I was in awe of their ‘light as air’ design, and the ability of each cloud to obscure our view of the sun…even for only a few seconds. The shapes and heights and colors of clouds amaze me, especially at sunsets when white becomes gold or possibly red-orange. And the shadows. They are shift and elusive. They ply across the ground, covering everything in their path as they dart past our field of vision. Magnificent is the word for what I saw. I wish you could have witnessed it for the heavens put on quite a show Monday afternoon.
Have you ever chased a shadow? Caught one? Why not try? Free yourself from anything that holds you back and simply ‘go for it ‘. While you’re busy chasing shadows and staring at clouds, consider who made them and rejoice that we have been given yet another reminder that this world was created for a reason and not by accident. That reason just happens to be you…and me. By enjoying the simple, yet most profound things this world has to offer, you may discover a new dimension to living…peace.
Life erupts from seeming stillness
Darkness to light; drab to refulgent
Winter’s browns transform into a kaleidoscope of colors
Wild and free, fragrances flow across the sky
Grass greens, trees bud and flowers sprout
Rains come, sun shines and birds nest
Sowers sow, bees pollinate and the earth responds
Grains top the stems of reeds and seeds appear
The earth rejoices, and God smiles
Nature’s jubilee is on full display