Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sure, It's Still the Dissected Till Plains, But, Well, It's Just Different

Feeling a bit Nader, today. Don't really know why. Perhaps it has something to do with my realization that this is a really different place than central MO. I am not talking politically (I knew it was different in that way--not that different, however). I am talking about geography, here, people. You know maps and weather and altitude and Mercator projections and topography and biospheres (okay maybe that's not geography, but, it's connected).

Monkey and I were on a little rise northeast of town, looking down on the plains below, and it was flat, man. I mean, there are some vistas in central MO, don't get me wrong. I mean, there's a stretch along I-70E, after you pass Kingdom City, where it seems like there isn't a hill forever, but this was flatness of biblical proportions. I was imagining it before European settlers came, bringing plows and trees, and I thought, "Shoot, no wonder they farmed the hell out of this place. You could just hook the plow up to the mule and run a furrow clear to tomorrow without an incline to interrupt your rhythm." Of course, I don't know jack about farming, so maybe that is not what they thought, but I do know that most of your early settlers who came this far west didn't speak such great English, so, whatever they said it was probably in German or Norwegian or Russian. But, I digress.

It's just different out here. The wildlife is different: black squirrels, western kingbirds, western meadowlarks, few woodpeckers (compared to MO). I have been on a few scouting missions to various spots that one might bird, but, owing to the hour, the season, the weather, and the geography, I haven't had much luck. I know that this is a hot spot during the spring migration, but I am still trying to feel out the rhythms of the rest of the year.

No, I don't expect to figure that all out in less than a month, but I just sense that it's not going to be the same here in many ways. I'll keep you posted (of course).

As a side note, and on a positive one, as well, Monkey made some kick-ass zucchini bread yesterday from fresh farmer's market zukes. And, my orphan tomato plants have several buds apiece on them--I can almost taste them 'maters, now!


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things about Missouri is how beautiful it is in many ways, including how varied and interesting the geography. When I've traveled to other parts of the midwest, I've been struck by the relative stark flatness of the land and my equally flat (sorry - couldn't resist) initial reactions.

It's interesting to examine why my flat reactions to the flat lands. It is very dramatic and striking, after all. I often feel very small. I would imagine how all this would evoke wonder rather than a kind of depressive flatness in me. I think for me it was more the foreign nature of the geography, as I'm used to more closeness, tighter spaces, variation in the geography, proximity to some sizable body of water, etc.

I recall having similar reactions to people's more reserved mannerisms, the odd (to me) names of places and method (if you are generous to call it that) of naming/numbering roads, the different foods. Some of that may not differ so much between MO and NE. I'll be curious to hear.

I also always love picking up new regional colloquialisms, and I encourage some blogging about that if you find yourself so inspired. For instance, the central PA way of describing a task to be completed without the "to be" part - as in, "The bedroom needs repainted" or "The boxes need moved". The mid-Atlantic use of "ignorant" meaning stupid. The midwest seemingly contradictory, "Sure don't", as in "We sure don't sell milk here."

And speaking of foods, the zucchini bread and the growing 'maters sound wonderful!


Anonymous said...

Oops, I'm such a mid-Atlantic person at heart that I realized I confused the true meaning of ignorant (stupid) for the colloquial use: rude. As in, "Why you gots to be so ignorant?! Damn girl, you need to move out the way!"