Saturday, January 10, 2015

Paradise Lost

I escaped this week from the howling winds,
Fleeing from the tempest in the Northern Plains.
I couldn't bide the bluster of a Polar plunge.
Couldn't face the sleet and snow and absent sun.
I followed skeining geese, I set my compass to the south,
And nested in the orange groves next to Sandhill Cranes.

I spent a week in Paradise, lying on the shores,
Hiding from the storms that reached the Southern Plains
I relished in the glow of tropic sun upon the sand.
Spent time among the skimmers, working on my tan.
I rested like a sleeping bear, I lived the life of ease,
And feasted in the orange groves free of winter's chains.

I'm back now in the winds, the freezing cold I've joined anew,
North I came to bravely face the fact of Winter's reign.
I can no longer skip on life, no longer can I hide,
Duty called, dogs were lame, the donkeys thought I'd died.
I've gathered strength and stored up warmth, I've hid an ember deep,
And rested in the orange groves free from cold and ice and pain.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bison Bust

ProfessorRoush often, perhaps almost monthly, has the opportunity to travel east of Manhattan towards Topeka on the major traffic tributary of I-70.   Just before Exit 328, on the south side of the road, is a metal shed with the slogan "Know God, Know Peace, No God, No Peace" in large letters that can't be missed by weary passengers from either side of the highway.   Of more immediate interest, to myself and perhaps others, is that the field next to this shed often contains a herd of 30-40 bison, grazing peacefully in the mornings against a virgin backdrop of Kansas prairie.

Recognizing the potential for a great photo or two, every time for the past year that I've headed to Topeka or parts beyond, I've tried to remember to bring my Nikon.  Unfortunately for me, the whole expedition has become an exercise in frustration, or, viewed in more charitable terms, an object lesson in the difficulties of obtaining a perfect photo.  Each time over the year that I have passed the field with a camera in the car, ready to pull over at the slightest glimpse of dark fur and stubby legs, there hasn't been a buffalo in sight.  Or it's during the middle of a thunderstorm.  Or it's too dark to get a usable photo.  On the one or two occasions that I've passed when every condition has been perfect;  buffalo present and during a dazzling and photogenic snowstorm, or in gentle morning sun with perfect light on the prairie, I have always managed to forget the camera.

It was with every good intention to remember the camera that I set out yesterday on the journey.  I was looking forward to the photogenic possibilities the January morning offered;  foggy, misting, and overcast.  The perfect conditions to create a nice mood image of ancient buffalo on the timeless prairie.

And then one mile from the exit, as I began to anticipate the buffalo, it hit me;  no camera!  What a professorial idiot!  Already 25 miles distant from home, I knew I was missing the perfect opportunity but there was no turning back at this point.  All I have, once again, is a haunting iPhone camera remembrance of what might have been the next Twitter sensation.  As I pulled off to the side of the highway, zoomed my lowly iPhone to full magnification, and tried to capture the wary expression of the adult male bison who guarded the rest of the herd, I knew only that once again I had failed miserably, soon slinking away on my travels with only the memory of a perfect photograph lost.


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