Very often when it’s time to pack up and head home from a trip, no matter how long the trip lasts, I am ready to head back to my regular life. Back to the schedule and the paycheck and the familiarity of it all. This time though, I did not want to leave. Not at all. I drug my feet getting breakfast and coffee on, dawdled while packing my things and wished I had paid for one more night. Finally, begrudgingly, I picked up my belongings, said good bye to my cute little room and left the key on the table where I had found it, two days before.
I didn’t have to work the next day, so while leaving the bunk house meant I did have to go home, it didn’t mean I had to leave the area immediately. I drove through Matfield Green again and headed back out to the Open Range, for another slow drive and some time spent falling in love with the view for the hundredth time. It just never gets old.
When I drove through this part of Chase County on Friday, I started on the north end of the trail and worked my way west and south. As I left on Sunday, I chose to start on the south end. It’s amazing what that little change in perspective can offer. It was roughly the same time of day as my Friday drive, but today the sky was bluer, the tall grass shining brightly in the early November sun. Maybe it wasn’t the change in physical perspective, but the change in spiritual perspective. Something was certainly causing me to view things differently; things beyond the scenery.
Heading back to the city was a necessity at this point. I have a job and friends and my kitties were surely missing their Momma, but I knew I’d be seeing Matfield Green and the Flint Hills again soon. There would be snow on the hills before long. The annual, spring burning of the prairie, and then the regrowth coming up through the charred remains of last years grass. The Flint Hills don’t have a “best time to see them” season, there is always something that makes me stop, take it in and more often than not, also take a few (dozen) pictures.
As I left the area, it dawned on me how even the house, that just a day before conjured up notions of haunting, suddenly became inviting, asking me to consider staying. I said farewell for now to the Flint Hills, pointed my car north and sent my mom this text just before I got on the highway.