I am back from my mini vacation. I feel I have recuperated enough to actually blog. I went to visit my family over Thanksgiving. From my house it is about a 12 hour drive. It gives you time to think when you are in a car alone. My trouble is with all that time to contemplate what to write, I sit here without a word to type. Then it comes to me.
Missouri and Colorado are not so different. I take that back. They are polar opposites, perhaps. There are cattle, horses, farm hands, ranchers, homesteaders, and even some city folk. So in this aspect, they are the same. The climates are very different. Missouri is humid and Colorado is dry. I have been traveling back and forth from Colorado and Missouri all my life, so it seems. Only in this trip did I actually notice what I perceived to be an extremely different atmosphere.
My first stop was my mom’s house. She lives about 30 minutes from the nearest town. The land rolls and curves and the views are outstanding. Luscious landscapes of various browns and greens. When it is fall, you can see orange, pinks, purples, reds, yellows, and bright greens. My mom and step-dad raise chickens and sell the eggs. They have a huge garden and are always improving on a snug A-frame built by the hands of my step-dad. When you go into town, the pace picks up slightly. A few scattered fast food chains line the main road and a Wal-Mart sits at the edge of town. Even in a busy-to-them Wal-Mart, farmers stand in the middle of an aisle and talk about their cattle and no one seems to mind. Almost everyone knows each other and their houses are most likely miles apart. In the bigger town of Springfield, my next stop, people were trying hard to keep a slow-paced life in a town that is pushing its boundaries and trying to become the next big thing.
When I compare this to the busy Denver, I think of all the times I’ve been angered because people were in my way, when traffic had me sitting in the same spot for more than 15 minutes, when I felt like I had to be somewhere yesterday. I have to say those feelings left me the instant I crossed the Colorado/Kansas border and saw this.
The land is flat and the scenery seems like it never changes. I often call Kansas quite boring. During this trip, I opened my blinders and noticed the true beauty in Kansas. It is the life. Kansas has uninterrupted land for miles. When something is spotted, it is a house surrounded by trees. They own a few cars, a nice herd of cattle or section of land that feeds about 200 people. It is serene and if you take a step into their lives, no one is too upset that three people took up an entire aisle at the store or that they didn’t make it somewhere on time. Time is not of the essence. All things take their time in Kansas. If you are driving anywhere, you’ll make the time. This is Kansas. Another thing about Kansas that keeps it from being boring is its vast history. Every town has something to share. So the next time I take a drive on highway 70, I am going to take the time to visit OZ, the town where Brown vs. The National School Board duked it out, and the historical mile markers where you can learn about Indians and settlers trying to share the land.
Colorado has these aspects too. Land is open and surrounded by beautiful mountains. People live a slower paced life outside of Denver. It is in Denver where things pick up speed, traffic is congested. people are often a bit meaner, and life seems to go, go, go.
It is a hard adjustment. I only spent 4 full days in Missouri and 2 days of driving through Kansas. In this short amount of time I noticed that there is a life that only cares when the sun comes up and goes down. A life that puts home-cooked meals on the table 3 times-a-day, and a life that stops to chat with the locals.
I enjoyed my stay, all the stops I made, and all the eye-opening situations. Life is short, but there is no need to rush to the finish. Take your time and enjoy what surrounds you, no matter where you are.