Stan’s Corner, Tuesday, August 23

Several years ago I read a book by Kathleen Norris describing the plains of North Dakota in which she says “quietness is a spiritual exercise,” and includes this beautiful description:                         The so-called emptiness of the Plains is full of such miraculous ‘ little things.’  The way native grasses spring back from a drought, greening before your eyes; the way a snowy owl sits on a fencepost, or a golden eagle hunts, wings outstretched over grassland that seems to go on forever.  Pelicans rise noisily from a lake; an antelope stands stock-still, its tattooed neck like a message in unbreakable code; columbines, their long stems beaten down by hail, bloom in the mud, their whimsical and delicate flowers intact.  One might see a herd of white-tailed deer jumping a fence; fox cubs wrestling at the door of their lair; cock pheasants stepping out of a medieval tapestry into windrowed hay; cattle bunched in the southeast corner of a pasture, anticipating a storm in the approaching thunder-heads.  And above all, one notices the quiet, the near-absence of human noise.”