After several days on the open road, I am reluctant to reconnect with the 'real' world. (I'm only forced to do so because I have over 300 photos that must be downloaded, labeled, tagged and, in many cases, deleted.)
Being in places where the population is small and the sky is big, the world feels different. Slower, of course, but also more connected. With room to think, you ponder silence and how rare it is. Beyond the wind, a distant 'moo' and the hum of a nearby tractor, the High Plains are dead still.
You see a way of life that is slowly dying and an agriculture industry that has long gone corporate. You see grain elevators and forgotten churches, one-room schoolhouses and a variety of roadkill. You see the two-fingered wave that locals automatically give to another passing car. You see boarded up businesses, hay bales and lots of cows.
Funny but even though there is no one around, you always get the sense that eyes are on you. Small towns have that feeling that whatever you do, someone will witness it and by lunch, everyone in town knows you wore your pink shoes to pump gas. I remember feeling this way in Africa. Sure, it looked like no one was out there but as soon as we stopped, people would seemingly come out of the grass.
I dug it. Seems like the perfect mix of solitude and community. Then again, I imagine it's even better when you're just passing through ...