Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Place Like Home -- 'Neath the Western Sky

I'm starting a new series on the blog focusing on the place in which I am currently living. For now, that means Oklahoma, though the jury is still out on where it will be a year from now. After rummaging through a number of titles for the series of blog posts, I decided to embrace the cliche. There is, after all, no place like home -- no matter where you are and how long you live there.

It's what I tell myself about Oklahoma and what I tried to convince myself of for 18 years in northeast Nebraska.

Actually, it takes very little convincing. For example, the sky in Oklahoma is enough evidence that this is a place unlike any other. It is true that the sky is always telling you something, but in Oklahoma, it seems as if the sky is a canvas to an invisible painter. Whether the artist is a master of dada or impressionism, I don't know. It seems to depend on the day -- maybe the artist is temperamental.

Rarely a day goes by when I don't see a new picture of the Oklahoma sky. A meteorologist capturing the latest sunset, a traveler joining the deep blue sky with the endless landscape, a farmer taking a photo of a decaying barn underneath bubbling cumulus. As an extremely amateur photographer, a couple of years in Oklahoma has taught me to always make the sky a part of the image. Whether or not my imagination is at play here, the same land always looks different on a daily basis here. The soil absorbs the light a little differently, the lake twinkles the sunlight slightly differently.

To experience Oklahoma requires looking upward as well as outward. Living here gives you an appreciation of the word vast. Nothing is small here -- sweeping horizons, gusty winds, and reverberating echoes of history. It is a common theme of Westerns that all of the characters are ants in a large, unforgiving world. The climate is harsh, and the land makes no mistake about it.

Oklahoma is not a scenic wonderland, but there is beauty here. There is something to be said for the empty land and the unrelenting sky. It is not everyone's paradise -- certainly not mine -- but it is often worthy of photographing. Sometimes, it's even worth calling home.

Cedar Lake -- May 2009

The Wichitas -- February 2009

The Wichitas -- February 2009

Mt. Scott -- February 2009

Black Mesa -- June 2009

Black Mesa -- June 2009

Talimena Scenic Byway -- May 2009

Talimena Scenic Byway -- May 2009

Norman -- May 2009

Elk City -- April 2009


Check out my sister's latest blog entry on bird watching in Belize!