Saying good-bye to Colorado and hello to Nebraska has been marked by continuing kindness and hospitality. On a regular basis I find myself summing up experiences with the phrase that this or that person "...couldn't have been nicer!" It was a modern day version of 'bunkhouse hospitality' in Holyoke, CO, in a house full of 'guy' employees of a large farming concern. They were very nice, genuine, fun, and on their best behavior! Following a serendipitous chiropractic 'tune-up', I was referred by that doctor to another farming family half-way to Imperial, NE, who welcomed me into their home. Am now cooling my heels at a very cozy B&B in Imperial, watching it snow and glad to be inside! Sunday (tomorrow) looks more conducive to walking, and the week should be growing progressively warmer, thank heavens(!), as I will be looking for good camping sites between here and McCook, about four days' walk.
Folks in this part of the country think about environment all the time, being farmers or in related industries. It was interesting to see a PBS piece on some northern Nebraskans investing in solar power and using cover crops instead of chemical fertilizers. For the most part, though, lifestyle seems to be driven by adaptation to the inevitability of large-scale agriculture, and loyalty to local/community networks of give-and-take. Many people are devoutly religious, generous and protective of regional values. Here, it is more my job to ask questions than it is to have opinions. Although I am willing to my share my admittedly 'city-dweller' concerns about creeping corporate control of our lives. Too bad that people have grown so suspicious of government, that it's come to seem as if corporate control is something different and better!
Though it may feel monotonous later, at this stage I can really appreciate the beauty of the plains, dotted with farmhouses, barnyards and groves of junipers/cedars and other trees. Lilacs are blooming - much more profusely than they do on the California coast. Wind is ever-present; when I am lucky it is coming from behind! And as usual on this walk, I am the one having my consciousness expanded!
|Seen from the road...|
|Started snowing last night.|
|Outside my window - a squirrel trying to keep warm!|
|A charming and welcoming Imperial refuge.|