Tall grasses that yesterday colored the prairie as far as eye could see are still there. Only the nearest 100 feet of the rusty red, yellow, and brown prairie grasses now appears, the rest only imagined behind the gray mist curtain.
The Nebraska prairie and its earth-tone colors are native to Kay. They’ve been less appreciated by her husband, raised on the tree-covered hills and the bright ocean blues and greens, dotted occasionally with sumac red and willow yellow, of the Northeast Coast.
The Hutton Niobrara Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, this 5,000 acre wildlife refuge of Audubon of Kansas, feels unspoiled by human hands, except for the indigenous people who long ago vanished with the buffalo along the Niobrara River.
By noon the fog is still here. So are the earthen colors. What’s changed is the Yankee’s fresh appreciation for the intrinsic beauty of the browns, yellows, and rusty reds he once viewed as the dull, faded colors of boredom and decay.
The Earth is a splendid place to live. Morning fog blew in years ago over Old Garden Beach in Rockport, Massachusetts leaving only the gray granite, red sumac and pink primrosed white picket fence visible to the eye. Then and now, there and here, life is wrapped in mist and wonder. The horizon disappears in morning fog.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Hutton House, Hutton Niobrara Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, somewhere near Bassett, Nebraska, September 22, 2015.