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  • Writer's pictureAllan Sander

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Tremulous night sounds drift into the dawn, the horizon captures the first light of the rising sun; her soul, its warmth, emanating within the distant clouds.  Lilts from larks and longspurs rejoice in the stillness of this wind-swept land. As shadows gravitate towards my body, thermals rise, a stiff breeze begins to unfurl; blowing thru reeds like a woodwind instrument, the undulating sound ebbs and flows with each passing breeze.  A harrier skirts across this rolling sea of grass. 

The ocean of blue above, its swaths of downy white, are now consumed by the steel gray of creeping giants: two converging systems prepare to clash.  The last call of a distant meadowlark echoes in my mind, the wind picks up speed.  Cruising with indifference, swallowing the last hint of blue, expanding, pulsating to the whims of the wind, they advance.  Mutating, contorted figures materialize from below, only to fuse together and merge with their creators.  Lightning fractures the ever-darkening sky as thunder emboldens these sentries to forge ahead. 

The scent of rain sweeps in, drops lazily tease the arid landscape.  Winds build, begin to swirl uncontrollably, it feels as if my face is pelted with shards of tiny glass.  This altercation was inevitable, Zeus hurls his thunderbolts uncontrollably, there is no leniency for the unprotected.  The battle ensues, the gladiators collide, tempers flare, setting the prairie ablaze.  Death and rebirth, ever the challenge, forever the cycle.                



Behind the Scenes:

For the month of April I would assist on a one-week tour in search of the many gallinaceous birds that can be found in the state of Colorado.  The exception was a detour into southwestern Kansas to see the Lesser Prairie-chicken.  Here, the habitat one finds in the Cimarron National Grassland at one time covered over a quarter of the state.  This flat terrain continued unabated, and as my friend reminded me, “If your dog gets lost today, not to worry, you will still see it against the horizon tomorrow.”  Perhaps this is why some of these low-pressure systems appeared so immense. 

Well a recollection of this moment hit me, of all places, in Sydney, Australia – from my hotel room, no less!  Maybe a synapse transmission reconnected/disconnected after a couple of beers.  Anyhow, I was quarantined in my hotel for 48 hours, this was during Covid.  You could only open your door three times for the day, when meals were delivered – plus the windows could not be opened.  “Fresh air, please!”  It did not help to be looking out on Sydney Harbor with the opera house to the left and the royal Botanic Gardens to the right.  Two high-rise buildings, clad with reflective glass windows, divided the scene.  You could not help but take a deep breath and imagine strolling the grounds below.  Dark clouds were developing in the distance between the buildings, another front closer to the bay was slowly drifting in its direction.  It was as if I were looking through the glass from a skybox seat, waiting for the action to begin.  The drama unfurled, literally, with each dark mass growing, drifting.  The clash of the titans was inevitable…

…the story was waiting to be told.


An episode like this is not unique; it is found everywhere.  One simply needs to embrace the experience and let it unfold.


Location: Experienced near Elkhart, Kansas in April of 2004

Date: Written in the year of 2020 in Sydney, Australia

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