Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time on the Tallgrass prairies of northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri. I had a great time hiking into these places, by headlamp or moonlight, to consider the stars, thank my God, fall asleep to the song of the coyote, and awake early enough to capture the sunrise on film. Here is a short excerpt from my journal describing just one of those trips:
"I'm reluctant to go. I've spent the morning atop a grassy knoll on this fantastic prairie, watching a small herd of Bison graze in brilliant morning light. Though unseen, I know that another herd is nearby, secreted somewhere in a fold in the earth. The colors about me are vibrant and saturated; purples and gold's, browns, oranges and reds. The contrast against the brilliantly blue sky is startling. There is a breeze this morning. It is slight, and wintry, and somehow quenching, like a cold glass of water. Below me a coyote hunts along the edge of a creek while all around, invisible in the high grasses, songbirds lift their voices, singing praises to their Creator, I imagine. Far off, to my rear, several bull elk bugle their rut-induced frustrations..."
In his book, "The Ragamuffin Gospel", Brennan Manning writes about the awe and wonder and grace that are found in such wonderful places and experiences. "The lurking presence of God", he writes, "is revealed not only in spirit but in matter--in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest... for the eyes of faith, every created thing manifests the grace and providence of (the Lord)."