The Early Years

My preoccupation with what dwells beyond the horizon began when my toddler’s legs were strong enough to scramble up the branches of a big Oak tree rooted firmly next to our family’s ranch house in Oklahoma.  Once atop the roof I would sit and gaze out onto the sprawling countryside in front of me.  From that perch I saw many of Mother Nature’s movies.

I watched and marveled at rolling black storm clouds sweep across the sky in a matter of seconds;  sat transfixed while I stared at huge flocks of blackbirds descending down like massive ink spots upon nearby fields and rooftops and listened in awe to the drumroll of thundering horses racing fast as bullets across the neighbor’s pastureland at evening time. The landscape seemed to extend forever to my young eyes.  The only thing that stopped the earth from spilling off the edge of the horizon was the massive blue sky that seemed to hold everything in place.

The childhood image that remains with me today is a prairie sunset, the kind that melts slowly in a Crayon array of orange, yellow, red, violet and blue.  Even now, with all my travels, my prairie sunset remains unrivaled in its arresting beauty.


Photo courtesy of John Beebe, Oklahoma photographer