Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Red Cliffs of Kansas

The Blog Mistress has landed! And in an awfully nice place, too.

More about that later. But first, I want to get down in writing the two Events of the day before I go to supper.

On my way to my destination, Ashland, I drove through Greensberg which is the Kansas town that got blown away by that F5 tornado a year or so ago. I guess I thought the town would look more rehabilitated, with more spaces filled in, so I was truly shocked to get there and see a place that looked as if the tornado had gone through last weekend. Of course, the debris is gone. And nice new buildings, small ones, are up. And there is construction going on everywhere, and there are handwritten signs thanking many, many people and agencies. But I'm telling you it is still shocking. First of all, it is flat ground, so you can see forever, wherever you stand. And what you see is blocks and blocks of streets and black, twisted trees. The houses are gone. There are some rebuilt on the south side of town, but the old neighborhoods? Gone. I was in Greensberg a few years ago--saw their meteor and The World's Deepest Hand-Dug Well--and I recall it as one of those cozy midwest towns with porches, shades trees and white clapboard homes. Gone, except for the winter-bare trees, which look very spooky.

What also shocked me was to see how big that twister was. It's unbelievable how wide it was, and since the ground is flat and nearly everything on it was flattened, you can see the twister's width, from side to far side. There are people who saw it from a distance and thought it was a storm wall, because their brains refused to compute a tornado that big.

I was surprised that it made me want to cry. I didn't, of course. Would have been rude, with all the hopeful work going on, but that's how I felt--shocked, really shocked, and weepy.

The next Event was happier. There was a point where I made a left turn and pointed south and from there on the scenery was GORGEOUS. Rolling ranch land, but craggy and rough, and very Western-looking. There are red cliffs and when the setting sun hit them today they looked bright orange. I could have driven that road for hours.

And now I'm at the Wallingford Inn, with a king-sized bed, and Victorian decorations, and I'm going to supper!

Y'all come, too.


bono said...

Wow, that's gorgeous. I hope to visit your surprisingly (to me) beautiful state someday.

It's hard to get one's mind around a whole town being wiped out. I'm glad your drive continued on from there. Thanks for the update.

Dina said...

Delurking to say hi to everyone.

Nancy, that is gorgeous. I am another one who hopes to visit one day.

Nancy P said...

Well, anybody who comes here has to check in with me. :)

Now that I've had catfish and baked potato, I could see mistakes in my post and so I corrected them. Any others will just stay for eternity, cause I'm suddenly, finally, pooped. The drive seemed easy, though, especially with good music CD's to serenade me all the way. Boz Scaggs goes especially well with this scenery.

I'll be here one more night.

Night, all!

boran2 said...

Hi Nancy.

There was an extensive series on the green channel about the rebuilding of Greensberg. I'd have expected that more would have been done by now. I'll have to see if it will be rebroadcast.

I hope that your travels are going well.

Jen said...

You ain't got to be so bad, got to be so cold
This dog eat dog existence sure is gettin old
Got to have a Jones for this, Jones for that
This running with the Joneses, boy, just ain't where it's at

Cliffs in Kansas? Neatokeen. If I'd known I'd have driven through there instead of Nebraska on the cross-country jaunts I used to do. That picture looks a little bit like the SW desert meets Tolkein's Shire, doesn't it?

And I know what you mean about the tornado destruction from having seen the damage from hurricane Andrew directly afterward. It's hard to believe the extent of that sort of destruction. I still weep for NOLA and all the lives and homes and meaningful things and places now gone.

AndiF said...

That's a beautiful photo Nancy. The flowers in front are the perfect framing. But, Toto, it's really hard to believe we're in Kansas. ;)

Hope you have a great day at the reading.

The tornado damage around here is noticeable for years because of the trees which mostly get left where they fell -- you can easily follow it's path by watching for trees all laid down in the same direction.

The most memorable picture of tornado damage I've ever seen was from the 1974 Louisville tornado. It was the house of a friend's sister. The entire second story was gone ... except for an ironing board with a glass of soda pop sitting on it.

Morning all.

Anonymous said...

I'm awed by nature, and it would be amazing to be able to actually see the path of a tornado - except for all of the loss and sorrow involved.

I've missed that part of the state, and those cliffs - but I have often been surprised by treasures like them when I cross what I think of as flat, boring states. SE Nebraska and W North Dakota hold hidden gems, as well. I'm sure there are more.

Off to Miami, and my reunion. Back Tuesday. I'll catch up then. Have a fun trip, Nancy - and thanks for taking us with you!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Maria Lima said...

Morning, all!

Nancy, that is heartbreaking about the town. I always hate to see things like that.

The photo is beautiful! Lovely, lovely scenery.

I'm all "yay, Friday" today, because that means I have a WHOLE weekend of writing time. I'm obsessed mode right now and my day job is nothing but a distraction. (oops, don't tell my boss! ::g::)

All, please keep your fingers crossed for me. Something in the works that I can't talk about but hope to be able to soon. It's good stuff.

Fabutastic Friday to everyone!

FARfetched said...

Wow, it's nice to see something like that, Nancy — it helps to remind us there's more to Kansas than long stretches of flat corn/wheat fields.

It wasn't a tornado that hit this place, but you can imagine it being so. An F4 went through our county in 1968 IIRC, Mrs. Fetched remembers huddling in the church basement while her cousin munched an ice cream cone (her attitude was apparently "I'm gonna finish this before we die").

Maria, I'm like that quite often — work is a distraction from life — then the in-laws come calling and I wish I was back at the office. :-P Hope your something in the works pans out!

Kelly McCullough said...

Kelly waves again

I think I'm going to have to drop off the face of the Earth for a while here soon to get caught up. Bleah.

bono said...

Fingers and toes crossed for you, Maria.

Where's Lisa?

Winter storm watch issued here for the weekend. I'm glad I'm not traveling. Hope you have good travel weather, Nancy. (Is this typical to send people across the state in the middle of Winter?!)

Waves to everyone.

Nancy P said...

I can't claim credit for the photo. It's off the Ashland, Ks. website.

I took some today in really high wind and too much light, but hey, they're still memories!

olivia said...


And so sad to hear about the town Nancy.