Green County Travels
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
I wanted to see them. On the map, they weren’t that far away from my new place on the lake. Just north of a town I had no idea how to pronounce, Pawhuska. What the map didn’t show was the twisting roads and the small, one - traffic light towns with their speed traps. Towns where the only thing that could give you a clue to the decade were the posted gas prices. Towns with a main street of brick buildings with fancy stone carving around the upper windows. At street level were the attempted modernizations of plate glass and double push doors. And the churches - waiting silently for Sunday morning - to be resurrected into life again. But I wasn’t traveling to see empty white clapboard churches or to have the thrill of doing 65 MPH and slowing down to a 25 MPH crawl within a tenth of a mile. I wanted to see them. Finally, Pawhuska! A turn to the right. The miles clicked by. Was I lost? I was still seeing houses. Then the road turned to dirt. The neatly mowed grass turned wild. Where were they? As more barbed wired fences and Texas cattle gates passed, I knew I didn’t have a clue where I was. But I was committed. I wasn’t going to turn back. This East Coast girl was on a quest. Eventually, the telephone poles drifted away from the road and the barb wire made sharp, crisp, 90-degree turns to flee from the road dust. I was nowhere. Gentle green rills hummed in the afternoon wind. Dark green trees drew the course of a stream. Over one ridge and in a hollow, I saw them. Black rocks against the golden green prairie grass. After the initial awe, disappointment. So few - so far away? I didn’t turn back. The prairie land had me. I was held by its silence and solitude. So this is what once was. A vast grassy ocean with its swells of hillocks and seed heads. A land of only two directions: up and forward toward the horizon. I had moved to a place birthed in these endless possibilities - of great expanse and fabled abundance. My car was down to a crawl and, dust be ignored, my windows were down. I heard a rustle, different from the play of the wind. Hidden in the grass, they were there. A large bull and his herd of cows and yearlings. His hide was mottled with great brown clumps of raggedly shedding fur. His eyes reflected wisdom and strength. His head spoke power and danger. The great American bison, now pretender to the throne of a once vast domain. My quest was over. I had found the remains of the West. The Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is located north of Pawhuska, OK (Route 60.) Owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy, this patch of never developed grasslands shelters a herd of 2,500 bison who freely roam its 39,000 acres.

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

Comments
No comments yet