Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Agenda 21: This is Middle America

Agenda 21, pp. 115-117

Chapter Eighteen opens with Emmeline digging into the sleeping mat of wonders once more. What do we get this time?

It was paper, folded many times. A map. I unfolded it carefully because it was thin and fragile along the fold lines. One side was a map fo the United States of America.

Basically, it's this:

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kinda boring, all things considered, but maybe there's more:

I turned the map over carefully. On the other side was a map of a state called Kansas.

Oh snap, that's where I am.

This map is marked and therefore slightly more interesting. The indicated location is Lake Wilson, which is real and looks like this:

There are some rather interesting rock formations in Lake Wilson - plug the name into GIS and you'll get at least a dozen pictures of them at different water elevations. Not that we're going to hear about that, because it would entail describing something. Well, there is a bit of description:

I looked up at the picture of Mother and me. Was it taken in front of our house in Kansas? Is that what the green grass looks like in Kansas? How close to the lake...

Wait a second, green grass? In Kansas? Uh...

I'd like to take a moment to talk about buffalo grass, which is what we have in this state. Plug that name into GIS and you'll get a bunch of images that look like this:

Kansas Splendor 1

That's in a park, a place carefully cultivated by human hands to defy the nature that surrounds it. Now, buffalo grass in the wild...well, it's technically green, but as you can see in the above picture of Lake Wilson, it's not exactly the hybrid bluegrass mix that most people picture when they think of grass. Here's what it looks like up close:

Kansas Desolation 2

Kansas is a semi-arid region - the plush, fragrant, water-intensive grasses that inhabit suburban lawns wouldn't survive a day there. What we have is a coarse, brownish-green grass that will grow past your ankles if you let it. It's rough to the touch and, in unkept areas, it tends to be full of stickers. After a good rain, buffalo grass can acquire some rather remarkable hues, but they tend to be more in the red-purple spectrum - not the vibrant green we're being presented with here.

I will freely admit that this annoys me far more than it should. It's an incidental point, and I'm assuming that Parke has actually been to Lake Wilson. It's just weird, is all. You get used to these alien descriptions of your current location when you like in places like the PRC, but Kansas?

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