If you're seeking a place of solitude and wonder, set your feet or bicycle tires down on Highway 19 and head east toward the county road on the other side of Highway 281. While pushing forward, if you stop pedaling and listen (or just listen while walking), here's what you'll hear: the soft buzz of […]

If you're seeking a place of solitude and wonder, set your feet or bicycle tires down on Highway 19 and head east toward the county road on the other side of Highway 281. While pushing forward, if you stop pedaling and listen (or just listen while walking), here's what you'll hear: the soft buzz of cicadas in roadside ditches. Crickets. Peace. Quiet. You may feel the gentle caress of the breeze (on an atypical day with light winds). You might see, overhead, a turkey vulture or hawk, circling within a blue sky, out scouting, perhaps, good locations for the coming night's hunt or maybe simply enjoying the thermals of a splendid day. On a Saturday when traffic is light, you can slip into this quiet stream and almost become one with the natural world on a smooth road like Highway 19. Perhaps, if you stop long enough, you might spot, as I did, a small gathering of tiny coral-blue-winged butterflies by the roadside.
But the best is yet to come, once you cross over Highway 281 onto NE 140th Street. There you will find a large, small community. They are the bane of farmers and ranchers, perhaps, but, nonetheless, interesting to observe. Standing atop mounds or half-peeking out of holes, some just scurrying about or scouting around: it's a prairie dog village. I had forgotten about this place since my last trip down this road. But, keep going, there's even more up ahead.
Miles and miles of alfalfa fields stretch eastward in all their purple wonderfulness, and the air here is filled with scores of dancing yellow and dashing white butterflies. There must be thousands of the creatures flitting about, chasing one another, landing on purple alfalfa flowers, and sometimes even softly touching a leg. It is easy to pedal slowly here and watch in wonder this wholly other world, this live demonstration of pollination. It all provides a gentle reminder that what we spray onto our crops can have devastating consequences within the productivity of our neighbor's fields.
This is a microcosm of the world, really: this opportunity to witness the glory and wonder of creation and how species and plants are interdependent within the great web of the natural world. Yes, we are all interconnected and will leave our impact upon this world, both for better and for worse.