I love the Flint Hills. Like crazy love, can’t stop talking about them, can’t stop photographing them, love. A few years ago, I discovered a rental place near Matfield Green, Kansas and thought it would be the perfect place take someone special and share the Flint Hills experience with them. That someone special thing… It just wasn’t happening, so I kept not going.
In the fall of 2015, amidst some bumps and detours in my journey, I was talking to a friend about this untaken trip to the Flint Hills. She looked at me and said “Why don’t you just go??” I sat there for a minute and had no good answer. What I did have was anxiety. Go alone?! And, not just GO alone, but BE alone?! For the whole trip?! I can’t do that! Or… can I?
After careful consideration, I realized having no good answer for NOT going, and an upcoming 4 day weekend for my birthday meant that I needed to go. Now, you may be thinking “Kansas. In November?” Remember I said I crazy love the Flint Hills? It’s not a fair weather kind of love, it’s a 10 to 110 degree kind of love. I was committed. The next morning the trip was booked and paid for and strangely all the anxiety was gone.
I began to really look forward to the trip. My only expectation was to be in the Flint Hills for two full days. I did some research on Matfield Station; the place I was going to stay and learned about the restoration of the building; a refurbished 1920’s Santa Fe Railroad bunkhouse. The part that stood out the most was the fact that 75 trains go by the bunkhouse everyday. I couldn’t really even fathom that many trains, but it certainly added to the idea of the adventure.
Each friend I told about my impending trip was excited for me, proud of me and some were even jealous that I had the courage to go alone. Little did I know, this weekend trip was about to profoundly affect my sense of self and my future.