Nebraska Sandhills Daytrip

March 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


Lost and alone on some forgotten highway, Traveled by many, remembered by few,*


March 15, the Ides of March, the timing was perfect - the Sandhill Cranes were stopping near Grand Island on their trip back north, and I had a friend to visit in Burwell. Half way in between there was a family with beautiful horses that I'd wanted to see for a while.

Looking for something that I can believe in, Looking for something that I'd like to do, With my life.

So I packed up my camera, tripod and  some soft drinks, and headed west early in the morning. The day was warm for March, the sky partly cloudy. I love the Sandhills, where I'd lived 20 years ago.

John Denver's song "Sweet Surrender" popped into my head and I smiled as I drove south of Grand Island and saw the first Cranes.

There's, nothing behind me and, nothing that ties me to, something that might have been true yesterday,

Their dance - wings out, jumping in the air - is not as rare a sight as I had thought; I was surprised to see it over and over again. They seemed weightless, dangling by a string like feather puppets. They were highly cautious of me, however, and I couldn't get very close. 

Then off to the north on Hwy. 281, the Sandhills coming into view in just a few miles.

Grin! Roller Coaster Road! Narrow highway, no shoulder, shear drop offs, keep your eyes on the road! But I can't! The hills are too beautiful!

There's something peaceful and mysterious and exciting about the Sandhills. Miles and miles of mounds of sand, with dots of brush or trees, a pond here, a highway there, cattle grazing, telephone poles marching off into the distance. The quiet, the aloneness, is satisfying. 

The camara helped me grab that scenery so that I could share it with you, but I hope you will make the effort one day to experience it yourself. It's not Disneyland, not the Rockies, not New Orleans or the Grand Canyon. This experience is peace. It just is.

CharEd Appaloosas was kind enough to let me stop at their place with very little notice. Ed was gracious, and his horses, as I knew they would be, were fantastically beautiful. They were playful and friendly, as curious about me as I was about them. The photos turned out great, but they don't do the horses justice - their winter coats will be shedding soon and their sleek summer beauty will shine through. I will be back!

Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more than enough to just be here today!

Burwell hadn't changed much, a small town in the middle of the state. Lunch with Kim was awesome, half catch up and half daydream. We're both grandmothers now. We were new mothers back then.

Back home, back on the road. Absorb the spirit of the Sandhills so it lasts a little longer....

Sweet, sweet surrender, Live, live without care, Like a fish in the water, Like a bird in the air."
 
-Lyrics by John Denver, "Sweet Surrender"

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