Clear Air and the Thought of Mountains

The power of a word. Whenever I hear or see the words "High plains,” I get a thrill. It goes up my back and fans out over my brain. In my younger days I lived in the great plains. My marriage began there, and I got two wonderful children there. We watched hailstorms approach across the miles, then popped popcorn and sat in front of the screen door to watch the snow white hailstones bounce off the short curly Grama grass. We lived in Clovis, New Mexico, Greeley, Colorado, and Yuma, Colorado. Where we were was often so flat that we were only limited in our vision by the curvature of the earth. We were like sailors on a sea of grass. The air of the High Plains is indescribably delicious. Even when it is hot by the thermometer, a slight breeze will cool your skin. Stepping back into shade makes sense there, as it drops the temperature twenty degrees. Of course there is often more than a light breeze, and we learned to jam our felt hats on tight, even using stampede strings at times. Saddling a horse was sometimes a challenge, as the wind blew the blankets off before you could swing the saddle into place. In September, when central Texas is still soaking in heat and humidity, the High Plains begins to feel the first sweeps of cool Fall air, and the dry grass crackles under your boots. Cottonwood trees begin to turn gold to match the sunflowers growing up in deep bar ditches or bar-pits as some call the roadside ditches. Combines wheeling across a tawny field so enormous that the tractors seem to disappear before they turn around and come back harvest tons of golden grain. everything seems brighter, even cleaner in the High Plains. And sometimes just knowing that the mountains that you can't see are only a few hours drive away is comforting. I guess, though The finest feature of the otherwise featureless appearing great plains is the great people. There, miles upon miles from anywhere the people know that all they have is each other. There is a kinship and a gentle fondness for each other that even transcends differences in politics and religion.

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