It’s rare to see a moment when the tops of the prairie grasses at Prophetstown aren’t swaying in the breeze, or bending low in the wind. Today around 4:30 in the afternoon I saw one of those moments. The overcast northwestern sky started taking on a not-too-deep-bruise-colored hue as the sun shone winter pale orange-yellow bright in the southwestern sky that had a sharp blue background. The contrast was striking. The air was calm.
Riding east on the bike path, the sun shining through and over the tops of the dried-out stubborn prairie grasses, I had a sudden thought: Huck Finn’s Hair!
“There’s no way Huck Finn had corn silk colored hair, or hair the color of a horse’s mane. Huck had January, seasoned, winterized, golden yet browning, sorta like straw but maybe crossed with hay, but not the fresh cut timothy or alfalfa that’s laying in the field, no, more like the hay sitting in the barn all winter, that’s it, crossed with straw, but that still is too clean-cut. It’s something like that but with a strain of wildness thrown in. Not soft, but coarse. Scratching. Ah, to heck with it. Huck Finn had native prairie grass hair that looked exactly like what I’m seeing now.”
I sprinted on, reaching the end of the bike path. I circled around the parking area and looked down by the stream. On the opposite bank, the trees were gone. They clear cut it, part of a master plan to return what once was a farm back to its prairie roots, literally. I then looked at the newly erected basketball court sitting by the parking lot, a replacement for a barn that was torn down because it didn’t fit the native prairie plan.
Back on the bike path heading in the direction I had just come, Huck Finn’s Hair put a smile on my face. It warmed me.
The missing trees and basketball court lingered in my mind, though.