As I’ve been driving around in South Dakota (and out here you do need to drive a lot to get to places) I’ve been pulling over to the side of the road from time to time to take pictures. There are other times where I go off onto one of the side roads, the gravel roads and I’ll stop and take a picture. What do I take pictures of? Some would call them random odd shots. Some might call them mundane every day occurances in South Dakota. Others might call them ugly. And even some who’ve not lived here and felt the dirt in their toes might not understand them. I call them beautiful. These are parts of the place where I live, part of the land scape. During our first month here, a big storm hit. I raced out and captures on my phone the rumbling of clouds over the church. The rain gone yet the clouds still moved on. Their gray and black mixing together creating something akin to a painting in the sky. The Missouri River was overflowing. It had risen above the rock and sand banks and had come close to the edge of the stairs. We had members of our church who loved the land, lived the land, show us this beauty when we first moved out here.I’ve taken a lot of pictures while driving (something that probably isn’t the safest thing to do). There’s something about being on the road, knowing where you’re going. Seeing the simple of it yet knowing it stretches out in a vastness that fills the whole land.As you drive down the highways, there, jutting off like capillaries from the blacktop veins of the highway system, are gravel roads that go back into the deeper parts of the farmland. These roads lead between farms, between highways and between the lives of people. Along these gravel roads are old homes and barns, empty for generations it seems. They once had laughter, and loved ones. They once held dances, filled with music, where young men and women would meet (with or without parents permission).
And then, there are the sunsets. Brilliant yellows. Deep-hued reds, muted purples. And when framed by the clouds, rival that of a sunset over the Pacific any smoggy day there.
What I’ve learned (and am still learning) is that there is beauty all around me. I just have to choose to see it.