It rained again. A gully gusher. A toad strangler. Rare here, and desperately needed — 3.2 inches, plus the inch the week before and another little drizzle. We’ve had a solid third of the expected annual rainfall in the three weeks since I’ve arrived, and the ponds and creek and moods show a positive ripple effect.
Corn is knee high. Tomato plants are starting their climbs up the lead strings to the rafters in the high tunnel. Cilantro is well into its name change to coriander as we shift our focus from leaves to seeds.
Other ripple effects are happening as well. Another WWOOFer, named Caroline, is leaving today after a really enjoyable week working together. She’s starting an internship dismantling coal plants. A mechanical engineering student at the University of Kansas, she says there’s not one person majoring in petroleum engineering in her department, that all the best jobs with the most pay and competition are in renewables.
Her boyfriend, whom she met years ago at a summer camp where they attended and then worked (which is on 50% of the 3% left of authentic tall grass prairie in the state) has a job restoring wetlands this summer.
Caroline and I went to Pawnee Rock yesterday, an historic high point on these flat plains that was the mid-point of the Santa Fe Trail and a key vantage point for seeing seemingly-endless bison, wagon trains, tribal movement and gorgeous prairie vistas.
People carved their names in the soft stone as they passed and wrote about it poetically in their journals. It’s now a view of ugly industrial farms. We shifted our mind’s eyes as best we could and imagined what they saw back then. I wonder what it will look like years after Caroline’s class graduates, what ripple effect there will be from their forward-thinking focus.
New people are coming soon, and I’ll be shifting from my WWOOFing Ritz three-bedroom house to a one-room Walden-esque cabin so that they can use this much larger space. I’m looking forward to the change for my final 10 days or so here.
The sun has shifted as well, no longer rising directly outside my front door but just enough to the left that I must shift my view to locate it. My view is shifting on many other things as well, and locking in more definitely on things I thought to be true and now know to be certain.
There is a ripple effect to my stay here, and to this journey Round America with a Duck, of course. I’m not quite sure what it is just yet, but it’s happening both outside and inside me.
My ducks, of course, are simply enjoying the puddles.