Now that they weren’t moving with the car the world seemed to slow down. The sky grew wider. A fragrant breeze soughed across the grass, and the ground as far as eye could see blazed with wildflowers. Mallow, dogbane, sensitive briar, coneflower, fringed salt cedar like pink bursts of feathered gauze–on and on they rolled to the horizon where yet more blooming hills billowed like waves. Wild rose, thistle, larkspur, rue, bluets and lupine, wild violet, deep purple locoweed and buckeye, tumble mustard, sumac, indigo. Here on the prairie in May was the heaven of flowers, blooming for no one at all . . . .

She and her daughters walked the pasture, marveling at the flowers. The world over, their poor dowdy state earned ridicule from those whose eyes had not been taught where–or how–to look, for the vastness of the land and the speed with which most people crossed it served as a veil. Prairie-born, Freddie and her daughters knew they had to stop, turn off the car, walk out a ways, and wait. They knew that if still they failed to feel the beating of the great slow heart of earth beneath their feet, the fault was theirs.

Janet Peery, “Ideal Marriage,” Image no. 81.

The “poor dowdy state” is Kansas, naturally. 

If only being “prairie-born” meant you knew how to see your own state. Alas, too many of my fellow Midwesterners despise the land as they were taught to do.