My wife and I were reminiscing today about our life in Oklahoma in the early 2000's. That conversation got me trawling the archives again, pouring over tens of thousands of images until I found one from the place that, for me, epitomizes the Oklahoma prairies which I loved so much.
The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is an exceptional area, largely untouched by the endless advance of humanity, it remains a beautiful oasis of the wilderness experienced by the very first humans in this area. There is only a long dirt road leading to the visitor centre, other than that it is pristine, and was a real favourite of mine throughout or time in the state.
The buffalo herds that roam the grassland and the howling coyotes that follow along aimlessly just add to the feeling that you are experiencing the land as its first human population did, so many years ago. The Preserve might initially seem large at 45,000 acres, indeed it is the largest section of protected Tallgrass Prairie remaining; but when you put it into perspective, it is merely a remnant from the 142 million acres that previously stretched from Manitoba Canada to Texas USA.
In such a chaotic and crowded world, the silence and emptiness of this place is a tonic for the soul. I visited frequently and stayed beyond sunset many times. The elusive buffalo were difficult to catch on camera at sunset, and though I did manage it once or twice, I still come back to this shot. The colours, the clouds (which are a rarity in Oklahoma) the bison and the rolling hills, perfectly capture my experience of this magical place. I hope to return again when travel is back on the menu, until then I'm happy with this wonderful scene.
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