Breezy wasn’t without a vehicle the entire trip. Sometimes the crew would all pile in the rented truck, leaving Breezy and Rai with the SUV. Exploration was at hand.
Breezy looked up the nearest state park. It happened to be minutes from the plant where her husband was working that day: perfect. She would pick him up after work. It was a hot humid day. She dressed lightly, packed a lunch and headed out.
One of the first things she drove over was the Platte River. It looked long and flat like all the rest of the land, but it was sheltered by close growing trees, all tangled up together like a thick curtain. She saw a pull off on the other side of a long bridge and stopped, pulling little smiling Rai from her seat in the back. She cooed happily and began sucking on the pad of her carrier. The ground of the trail was hard and brown, more like dried mud, then dirt or sand. The constant hum of insects got louder closer to the water.
After that, it was straight to the state park. She visited two state parks that day. Neither felt like her typical PNW state park. The first was more like a water park. Throngs of sweaty children floated cacophonously on the self made waves of a large community pool. She barely found a place to park. A large stream of children ran by screaming and wielding copious amounts of ice cream. She saw a large red structure jabbing into the skyline. It was a lookout tower. “Well that’s interesting,” and up she went. She could see the whole flat area. She could even see all the way over to where her husband was working that day. “Cool.”
The next state park was actually an old fish hatchery that was converted into a state park. It seemed to Breezy to be the remains of an old world theme park, complete with deteriorating steps, vines, and murky water. Nobody was around, so Breezy could explore in peace and quiet. Fish swam through the murky depths, searching for insects to feed on. There were plenty to keep them well fed.
While there weren’t a lot of trees in Nebraska, they grew in close curving walls, and Breezy loved them. They gave everything an old world feel. Even the colors seemed more muted there.
Another day, while searching for a nice place to eat lunch, Breezy got fantastically lost in the corn covered side roads. She found dirt roads that meandered past old barns, then popped out at a country fair. She swipped at her forehead, shrugged her shoulders, and harnessed up little Rai.
Her husband was working at a cement factory in the middle of a nearby town. Sometimes Breezy would just sit in the car with Rai and watch them work (a safe distance away of course) They were tearing down conveyer towers. Rai would climb over the seats, then come sit on Breezy’s lap pretending to drive the car.
Breezy enjoyed her glimpse into the life of Nebraska. It was a flat, constant, durable land, with a friendly people. She could see the age and history everywhere she went. She also saw lots and lots of corn. At one point she heard the low eerie sound of a tornado warning, lightning flashing across the sky. She was bundled up in the hotel room, curtains thrown open. She sat and waited. She wondered if she should go into the lobby and find shelter. Nothing happened. Slowly her heartbeat returned to normal, and she decided that this was not her land and not her people. She learned what had taught these people to be so patient. She couldn’t wait to get home.