John & Anne Wiley

2013/05/16

Prairie

Soon after takeoff from fascinating Frasca Field in Urbana, we were experiencing prairie magic. This house with an acre of green amid fallow brown fields is an intriguing study for me. Not just the person(s) who preserved a tiny tile of life in this factory farming moonscape, but a deep need for green sanctuary within the human psyche.

5588 Green Need

5588 Green Need

Maybe we also need fire. Flying in the sometimes thick haze from innumerable fires that everyone down there was breathing, I wondered about this practice. I guess there’s no better (or greener) way to do what burning does for land, but from the air it’s a widespread slow motion degradation of a beautiful place as each plume joins the smoky stream.

5589 Smoke Stream

5589 Smoke Stream

We flew past Springfield again, and enjoyed seeing familiar landmarks including places where Honest Abe built his career.

5602 Land 'O Lincoln

5602 Land ‘O Lincoln

On the outskirts of the city a nursery seems to surround a home, that maybe belongs to the owner, creating a park beyond the backyard fence.

5613 Green Home

5613 Green Home

As we crossed the mighty Mississippi I played a prank on Anne by saying, “Welcome to Louisiana.” She shuffled the AAA map she’d been using to track our path with a highlighter, trying to understand how she’d been so wrong about our location. Finally I reminded her I’d mentioned that we’d be crossing the state line at Louisiana, MO. We differed on how funny it was. 🙂

5621 Fractal Fudge

5621 Fractal Fudge

The eddies at river’s edge are really beautiful, making shapes like this I could stare at and fall into a contemplative silence as it begins to slowly swirl again.

5634 MO Money?

5634 MO Money?

Maybe it’s just the particular track we took across the state, but I saw more prisons per mile in Missouri than anywhere else on our trip. Is this one of the states with corporate-run for-profit prisons that house inmates from other states? Is justice best served when corporations and governments profit from incarcerating people, or am I needlessly concerned about a system that efficiently keeps criminals off the streets? Frankly, I was much more concerned about clouds today. Cute little puffies like these had me checking the horizon for signs of worsening weather, because the forecast was for the possibility of thunderstorms.

5640 Harmless or Harbinger?

5640 Harmless or Harbinger?

It’s always fun to see another plane when we’re flying. Not just because it’s rare, but probably because it triggers mirror neurons in our brains. I see myself in this plane, enjoying the fun of flying really low and yellow with my shadow trying to catch up back down in the brown squiggles from a tractor.

5652 Eluding A Shadow

5652 Eluding A Shadow

As we descended to land and again embrace our own shadow, I smiled at the contented posture of this cattle. In a quieter way, they’re probably as happy ruminating here as I am dancing among the clouds.

5682 Cow Heaven

5682 Cow Heaven

Not knowing where we’d end up today, it was fun to find ourselves at Stearman Field in the outskirts of Wichita. Here people live in homes all around the airport and their garages have airplanes in them. Many of them meet at the excellent restaurant and pub to sit and watch airplanes come and go. If this was in Santa Barbara, we’d be trying to afford one of these homes where we could live with Tripp and be immersed in aviation and dining with aviators. We’re at least happy to visit, and appreciative for their hospitality in loaning us that cute little star car for the night so we could drive to a hotel.

5692 Amiable Aviators

5692 Amiable Aviators

Tomorrow’s weather looks likely to be more predictable and less worrysome, so we hope to join dear friend Debby in Santa Fe by nightfall. As always, plans may change as our journey unfolds…

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