Category: Nebraska Page 1 of 4
In my first excursion into the world with other people in 10 months, I began 2021 on a high note. Traveling with my friends Steve, Katie, and Jeff, we hiked to the top of the bluff at the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area, walked across the bluff to the far side and back. After 8.5 miles, it was my first physically distanced, non-mask wearing trip since February 2020.
Whenever I have a chance to get away from the world and be in nature I take it. It doesn’t cure my PTSD and depression, but it sure helps to keep me calm by being away from modern society and its trappings.
The lights appeared out of nowhere in my rear view mirror. “What the hell?” I said. I was driving through Banner County, Nebraska, which is all wide open plains. I somehow missed seeing the police car.
I looked down at my speedometer. 80 mph. That’s only five over the speed limit. I pulled my car over to the side of the road, turned my four-way flashers on, and grabbed my documents from the glove compartment.
I was returning from Cheyenne, Wyoming, where I had taken my Hyundai Accent in for a new clutch. The Accent made it 99,950 miles with its original clutch. The Hyundai dealership provided a loaner car until mine was fixed. I assumed something was wrong with the loaner car and that was why I was pulled over.
When I left the Star-Herald in June 2019, I knew there was a chance I would never be able to write professionally again. I had to do it in order to save my physical and mental health. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. Writing is the one thing in life I have always had confidence in. Despite the fact that my life may have been falling apart in other ways throughout the years, I could always take solace in my writing regardless of genre.
Before Steve and I even got out of his truck we could see them. They were several hundred yards to the north of us. Steve and I grabbed our gear. We made small talk about our choice of clothing that day. I chose my black t-shirt. I was cold now, but in an hour, I’d be warm enough. Steve had on his red sweatshirt and and a goofy knit cap to keep his head warm. He was warm now. We also knew he’d be plenty hot in an hour.
I sometimes forget that my 300mm lens really isn’t that big, especially when you put it next to his 500mm lens. Ovis Canadensis was on our radar today. It would be the first time I would ever see the Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep in person and the pictures were worth the wait.
Anyone who has seen me during winter for the last three decades has likely seen me wearing my green sweater. Shortly after moving out of the dorms at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and into my first apartment, I had a conversation with my grandmother about being cold. I was on a budget and heat wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Gram wondered if I couldn’t afford to turn the heat up, why didn’t I wear a sweater. I didn’t have one. I didn’t have the money to buy one.
By the time I left her house in Middletown, New York, I had a pocket full of cash to buy a sweater of my choosing. It took months to find a sweater I liked.