May 7, 2014

a monument to days gone by

Kansas is terribly unassuming

across the vast expanse of the plains 
(and vast does not even begin to describe it) 
it is wide
hills of farmland,
open and free

many places challenge that
there are red buttes
dry terrain filled with yucca and tumbleweeds
unfarmable draws
craggy canyons

these are
Monument Rocks
The Chalk Pyramids
in Gove County, 
northwest Kansas.
they are nearly 70 feet tall
they sit strong and proud
but swallowed up by the surrounding prairie
blending in
 actually rather small in comparison

i felt like i was in an old western movie.  this is the perfect canyon

there are two prominent sets

the 'eye of the needle'

photo credit: mom

Monument Rocks, Kansas (1949

School Group at Monument Rocks
this picture is probably from the 1920s
A school group stands on the base of "Old Chief Smoky,"
 (also known as the Kansas Sphinx) an outcropping that fell down in 1986.

they sit in the basin of the Smoky Hill river.
the river 
once wider and larger
swirled down from the upper land
following and cutting a path through the chalk rock

the natives knew these hills
these rocks
used the rocks as a landmark
that guided travelers through the region in the 1800s

it is very quiet 
there is no sound except for the wind in my ears
the crunch of my feet on the crumbly ground
time is nothing
it could be a hundred years ago
a hundred years into the future
as long as i do not look at the clothes i'm wearing
the camera in my hand.
i can feel them here
those who have been here before
maybe my age
maybe older
on horseback
or an automobile
they marveled
thanked God for such beauty
just as i do 

and to the second group...

'the camel'

many, many fossils have been uncovered here.
dad found this on the ground, but many remain
trapped within the layers, their edges slowly eroding away

it is amazing to think;
how many times the sun has risen and set on the face of these rocks
warming their faces?
felt a cool 
refreshing rain
seep into its layers?
been chafed by the hot
dusty wind?
how many little cliff swallows
laying eggs in mud nests against the steep sides
have their noble
cliff faces harbored? 
how many times 
have they stood in high snow
then water
only next year to break from the dry?


Shady Del Knight said...

Utterly spectacular, Abigail! In the short time I've know you I have learned more about Kansas and seen more of the sights than I had my entire life. I did not realize your proud state boasts the equivalent of the Sphinx and the pyramids. It does my heart good to see these pictures of you exploring and to know that you forget about the present, lost yourself in time and became one with these ancient formations. I agree this area would be an excellent location to shoot a western or perhaps a Planet of the Apes movie. That canyon looks like a great place to stage an ambush scene.

Thank you for another eye popping and very educational post, dear friend Abigail, and enjoy the rest of your day!

Ajax Cochrane said...

Wow. That's beautiful. I didn't know you lived in Kansas- we're practically neighbours. ;)

Sarah said...

What a wonderful sight! Those rock formations are beautiful and that is way too cool, that your dad found a fossil! I would definitely love to visit this one day.

Lucy said...

These are brilliant photographs, what an incredible sight to see. I would very much love to visit this place one day and experience the feelings that you described. I can easily see how one would feel as though they'd be transported through time upon exploring these landforms.

Tanya Jean said...

This place looks absolutely stunning!! :)
xo TJ

Indy said...

WOW. Absolutely incredible. I can't really get over how amazing that place looks! I definitely want to visit someday! Nature is so awesome.

And yes, my camera is a Kodak Instamatic! I just found it at the thrift store the other day and I'm in love with it! It looks so cute sitting on my shelf! How funny you've got one, too! :)

Kathrin said...

amazing photos, such a wonderful place!
happy weekend!

Sarah C. said...

These photos are incredible! Would love to visit one day. Thanks for sharing!

Tessie Jayne said...

The pictures and poetry make me want to move to Kansas! It looks so beautiful there. Have a lovely weekend :).

Emma McIlroy said...

This is beautiful, I loved how you thought about the history of the area too, that is what I think a lot about too when I go somewhere incredible like that :)

Emma | theearththroughalens

Emma Declerck said...

Hello Abigail!
I nominated you and your blog for the Liebster Blog Award;

xoxo Emma

ivette said...

wow! this is such a beautiful place.... i can almost listen to the sound of silence by placing myself in that spot..... i love places like those...nature, mother earth, no people around, untouched by human hand.... it becomes pure and magical! ...i wanna go there!
thanks for sharing!

Jessica Cangiano said...

You know, dear Abigail, that your posts have quickly become some of those that I most eagerly look forward to each time I check my feedreader. Your marvelous, tranquil photos and equally lovely, always soulful words are welcome breath of fresh air in the mile-a-minute world of the web and this post, chalked full of such breathtaking natural wonders, is no exception. Thank you for the beauty, of so many shades and sorts, that you bring to mine, and all yours readers', world.

♥ Jessica


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