As we set out
on our Sunday afternoon walk,
Maizey, Joe and I,
it was sunny and I only needed a sweater.
Though February,
the breeze was warm
and just strong enough
to softly blow my hair.
I took in the subtle curve of the prairie
on the horizon,
took in the vast sky,
the quiet, straight road.
And I realized
that there is a transition moment
from leaving the confines of the house,
the boundaries of yard,
and barns;
that stepping out onto the prairie
brings  a moment of unsettledness.
In that moment—
usually without being aware of it—
I choose whether to focus on the big picture
or the details.
I usually, at least first, focus on the details:
the dogs, exploring;
which birds are about.
Yesterday, it was impossible to not notice
the Canada and Snow Geese.
Their company of voices could be heard
half a mile before I saw them,
on the Water Retention Reservoir
and then in the sky,
headed to their supper on the wheat fields.
Joe smelled and then flushed out
a large coyote,
who ran across the pasture
and toward Doe Creek.
I headed to the Oil Blossom,
a sort of mesa
that rises alongside the creek.
Her boundaries are historically,
for me,
a place of comfort and calling.
I enjoy being there,
with a little higher vantage
looking onto the trees that line the creek
and the grass greening beneath them.
With trees close,
I laid down
and looked up into the blue, blue sky
and found
at the top,
the white crescent moon.
Even the moon,
so far away,
helps define space
and I felt a cozy at-homeness.
Maizey was not content there, however,
and called me with constant, sharp barks
to leave,
which we did.
Back down in the pasture,
I heard two Kildeer
and then saw them,
They must be defining a nesting place.
When we drew near,
they took flight and circled above us
until we left their territory.
It was then I felt comfortable
broadening my vision,
leaving notice of detail,
and let myself enter into a bigger, undefined picture:
the unboundaried prairie,
the vast bowl of sky.

A group visited us once
from the suburbs of Connecticut
and found the prairie to be very uncomfortable.
A wise friend observed
that there are no boundaries here.
There is a sense of wildness
and undefined expanse
that unsettles some of us.
I, native to the prairie,
when entering it,
first focused on lovely detail
until, in a moment,
it was safe to widen my vision
and allow myself  into the grand openness.
When I did,
I felt I was in touch
with the expanse
of my soul.
And, for awhile,
I soared.