Words inspired by the backroads of America

Autumn in the Hills

One crisp, clear autumn afternoon found us heading north on one of our favorite clear-the-mind routes.  Rolling up through the Kansas Flint Hills on Highway 177 from Matfield Green, we could feel the pressure of the week melting away.  There’s something in the Hills that brings everything into perspective.  Maybe it’s the permanence of the grasses that cloak the rolling horizon, or it might be in the century of time that appears to have passed over this land leaving only the mere vestiges of change.  There is a feeling of strength and eternal beauty that is hard to find in these days of constant change.


The autumn frosts have painted the grasses their rich coloring of russets, tan and gold.  Looking to the west is like looking at a restless, blazing sea.  The colors are brilliant with the sunset light shining through the blades of tall grass.  This is my favorite time of year and the best time of day to experience the beauty of the Hills.  If a person could freeze time for eternity, this would be my moment.  As the sun drops below the far horizon, the grasses change from brilliant color to intricate silhouettes.  The lonesome trees add accent points to the horizon line with a few fence posts thrown in for rhythm. 
Finding beauty in the Hills is only a matter of slowing down enough to let the scene paint itself in your mind.  The views are so natural and pristine that the first impression is of empty openness.  Spending some quiet moments taking in a sunset over the prairie is the best way of dusting out the clutter in the mind and realizing that beauty lies in the simplicity and subtle details.
As the lighting dims and we head on to our evening stop, we take the memory of one more perfect moment and the realization that moments just like that have been happening for eons and will continue long after we are gone…  That’s where the real beauty lies.