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  • Last modified 73 days ago (Oct. 3, 2019)

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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Symphony on the prairie

© Another Day in the Country

Every year I think to myself, “We should try and get tickets to the Symphony on the Prairie, again.”

But I don’t! The tickets sell out so fast and I’m not good at waiting “on hold” for hours and then they are expensive. So, I console myself with an oft’-used phrase, “Been there. Done that!” It was wonderful when it happened; but I’ve checked it off my bucket list. For now! Maybe someday we’ll get another chance!

Meanwhile, every week or so I experience something almost as good. I plug in a favorite CD in the Grandma Car, turn up the volume, and listen to Yo-Yo Ma on my way to Abilene.

Often I do the same on the return trip, after exercising, having coffee with friends, and getting groceries.

It’s amazing how music can affect your mood — whether it’s majestic, invigorating, romantic or sad. It truly matters what kind of music you listen to as the background for your life.

I checked and you can find this on YouTube: “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Marricone.” Shall I wait while you click the buttons?

While we’re waiting, I’ll tell you that there is just something so majestic about cello music with a full orchestra in accompaniment that lifts your soul and widens your horizons. It just matches the sweep of the countryside along K-4. The music and the vista are like ice cream and cake, or a hamburger and French fries — “trust me, they just go together — are we ready?”

It isn’t really early in the morning when I head toward Abilene; but 8:30 is after everyone is either at work or at school and the roads seem very quiet. I might meet a car every once in a while or a pick-up truck, but it feels as if I have the countryside all to myself.

They’ve been putting in a new bridge on Oat Road so I have to take a two-mile jog to get over to the highway. Cornfields stand along the dirt road, yellow, dusty, but somehow still majestic, waiting for the reaper to arrive. Some days, the blue sky behind them is so brilliant and the dry leaves on the corn sparkle with dew. There are old weather-beaten fence posts made of hedge here and there, leaning haphazardly, keeping nothing out and nothing in. They are just still there, and have been for probably 100 years.

Sometimes I just have to stop and take a picture because the light is so wonderful and the posts stand so poignantly weary as I drive by.

There’s a field by the road burned black, waiting. Next to it, another field covered with brilliant emerald green new growth. Could it be wheat? Already?

One tree lifts its arms on the corner, a sentinel, a landmark on a county road. Once perhaps, a home stood near, a windmill and a barn. No longer.

The sun breaks through the clouds. I stop to make the turn toward civilization. A paved road beckons, now a surer track before me with yellow lines, closer rules to follow as I journey on.

The sun’s casting a warmer hue into the day. More corn, then cane fields brilliant green, still growing, those stocks with glossy leaves oblivious to their late arrival on the country scene. The fields of beans are off there in the distance. A few are turning gold. They do not know, nor care, that it is late, very late, September.

What are dates on calendars to Mother Nature even though the steward of the land pays close attention?

“At least 120 days to grow those soybeans,” Doug says. “Some just may freeze this year.”

The music soars and I refuse to dwell on frost.

Black cattle, sleek and fattened, belly high in prairie grass, come into view over the hilltop. Familiar roads. Familiar scenes. Familiar times — new calves, dotted across the pasture.

My favorite view is maybe 15 miles from home. A place where the land rises beside the road and all you can see on the horizon an old fencerow against the Kansas sky, clouds scuttling overhead. It always takes my breath away. In June, the scene is duplicated on the far side of the road. Then it is wheat, just golden wheat stretching off into the blue.

A little further down the road is my favorite farm with all the barns painted red and a white fence around the corral. When I view it on the way home, it’s iconic. Sitting on a rise, with all the world behind it, trees and valleys, as far as your eye can see, stretching off into the distance.

This, then, my friends, our prairie symphony, on another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 3, 2019

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