To the jenth power ...

I read the books. I watched the show. I unflinchingly wore a sunbonnet to second grade. What started as a childhood obsession has developed into .. well, an adult obsession. I'm going to visit some of the sites depicted in the Little House series of books. Go west, (not-so-) young woman, indeed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Weather, Channeled.

Again, I've stalked and captured a computer complete with internet connection. Really, I impress myself with my innate cunning and my deft lasso skills. Kidding. Actually, I had to wait a few hours for the computer at the hotel to free up, and this process involved much muttering and gnashing of teeth. At any rate, here I am.

There's a rainstorm rolling through right now, but no lightning or thunder. We were under a tornado warning this afternoon, a fact that's likely a common occurrence to prairie folk but was rather unnerving to me. As I headed eastward on Route 14, I kept imagining a tornado coming out of nowhere and sweeping both me and my rental PT Cruiser away. So I'd spend one moment wondering if I'd look like Miss Gulch as the storm whisked me aloft, and the next wondering how I'd explain tornado damage to the high-strung fella at the rental car company. Perhaps I could combine the two and use my best Miss Gulch face to subdue him. I may still try that, funnel cloud or no funnel cloud.

I saw the coolest thing on Friday night. I'd expected the Walnut Grove pageant to be the highlight of the evening, and it very nearly was; however, as I drove back to my hotel afterwards, I saw lightning in the distance. Now, it hadn't occurred to me that lightning on the prairie would be any different that Northeastern Pennsylvania lightning, but, really, it is. The stuff I saw was so far away that I could see its path both upwards and down to the ground. When it struck, a patch of the sky became luminous with shades of yellow and grey. Except for random Dead show backdrops in my crazier days, I'd never seen anything like it. It was absolutely hypnotic. Add the fact that it was too far away for me to hear the thunder, and it was outright surreal.

Coming out here, I was all set to immerse myself into the Little House stuff. I even expected a certain amount of emotion at seeing so many of the places and details from the books. What I really hadn't expected, however, were the little things about this part of the world that have made me understand Laura's love of the prairie. I hadn't known, hadn't appreciated, how spot-on so many of her descriptions are, even one hundred and twenty years later. The lightning was the most striking (har!) example, but I also noticed it in the way the sun shines on the waving grasses and in the feel and sound of the wind. I didn't expect it, and there's no way I could have prepared for it, really. It was a delightful surprise.



At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I know what you mean. When I moved to the prairie, I had the same experience. Suddenly, LIW's descriptions meant so much more to me. I really understood her love of the land. Most people ask why I don't live in the mountains. I do love the mountains, but the plains have grabbed a hold of me in a way that I did not expect.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Dylan said...

Have you seen any bunnies?

At 2:09 AM, Blogger Jen Bossypants said...

Actually, yes, Dylan! However, I didn't see the bunnies at any of the Little House sites. I saw a few at a brewery/garden tour in New Ulm, Minnesota, and the bunnies seemed pretty happy and inquisitive there. In fact, I thought of you when I saw them.

I completely get it, kathy. There was something about the prairie that choked me up and rocked me to the core. There's a stark beauty to the land, and then there are little details like the shifting colors as the sun sets. Or the way the light and shadows change throughout the day. I took pictures and I wrote about it, but I can't really do it justice.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Dylan said...

Yay for bunnies!

My mama got the postcard you sent her, but it's out of reach for me so I won't accidentally eat it.


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