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Yesterday I drove across the Mighty Mississippi after “stop n going it” through the city on my way home to Illinois, once again thinking of how much I’ve grown to love this state I call home now.  It’s trees, it’s bluffs, it’s wildlife, it’s sense of calm and peace, it’s people, it’s sense of small town America even within the smaller Metro area in which I live.

I love where I live!

Yesterday I also drove across the place I called home for 44 years… the majestic prairies of the Kansas Flint Hills… pushed and buffeted by wind gusts that are native to this land I grew up in. I spent the next three hours crossing the prairie, praise music cranked to the max, singing at the top of my lungs, and lost in thought as I crossed this prairie that I’ve traveled literally hundreds of times over my years.  So many familiar sights, so many things seen a hundred times, and so many things seen a hundred times over but with eyes that are now 51 years old and seen in perhaps a slightly different way.

The sight and smell of the scattered oil wells coming into ElDorado…

The sheets of dust blowing off the side country roads onto the main road…

The expanse of ElDorado Lake next to the turnpike with it’s miles of barren trees rising from above the water (fish habitat, people!) … a somewhat eerie sight and one that led me as a child to wonder what kind of “lake creatures” might reside there…

The rest area at Matfield Green where we ALWAYS stopped for potty breaks for us and the dogs who delighted in “christening” the memorial to Knute Rockney there…

The cattle pens at the Bazaar crossing bridge where I’ve NEVER seen a cow yet…

Areas of burned off prairie land … some having been done for reclamation purposes, but reminding me of several years ago as I drove across the prairie in tears at the sight of the land that wildfires had so savagely claimed…

The “has to be ancient” tree that sits on top of a hill on the south side of the road, bent as it has been for every year Ive seen it from the south winds that have battered it for years… still standing…

The big crooked cross sitting on the next rise of hills to the south, leading me to wonder as a child who put it there and how did they do it.  And while that thought DID cross my mind once again,  I thought about what a glorious reminder as I traveled of God’s glory, His majesty, and all He created…

 I was reminded of the most glorious 10 mile hike I’d ever taken through the Konza Prairie, walking alongside buffalo as they headed for the creek for water… despite the fact that I was making that hike with a group of ten year olds…

And the sky!  Have I mentioned before how BIG the sky is???

Then it was gone.  From Kansas City to the Mississipi that leads me home, there was city and industry and buildings and traffic… man-made “things” that are everyday sights.

I crossed the river to home… another different world…. trees, bluffs, horseradish fields lining the winding two lane road… to a dog who delighted in the fact that I was back and to the arms of friends who let me know I was home.

Yup I’m home!  But I never truly left home for these few days…

For home is where the heart is.  And while my heart is here in Illinois as well?  It never left Kansas!

It will always be a part of me!

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