Seeing beauty or boring

I had a long drive across Pennsylvania yesterday. It gave me a lot of time to think about this accusation I often hear when introducing myself as being from Nebraska. It goes something like this:

"Nebraska. I drove across that once. Thought it would never end. Wow, it was boring."

Generally, my rejoinder has been something along the likes of the interstate cutting through the most boring part, the beauty of the Sandhills or canyons just to the north or south, the rolling hills of prairie, etc. etc.

But yesterday, as I drove across PA, I thought to myself, "Well, if you've seen one 5 mile stretch of trees and valleys and hills, you've seen em all! But guess what? You get 200 more miles of the same thing!"

It's not that either one or the other of these landscapes is inherently beautiful or boring. They're both, depending on your mindset and perspective and home environment, I'm guessing. I really missed being able to watch the sun set. Interstates are pretty damn boring, no matter where you are -- with a few rare exceptions like in Colorado.

Bottom line, though, I do pity people who can't see beauty in vastness. I present my evidence from my Kansas-Nebraska century last weekend. Take it or leave it.


Nathan said...

Writing to you from corn filled Iowa, I can sympathize. I've found that the speed that you travel through a vast space makes a great difference. The plains are a subtle country, if you speed through it the changes and contours get blurred into monotony. I never thought of my part of the world as beautiful until I started biking on the sweetly rolling gravel roads and finally seeing all that these open spaces offer. I'd like to come ride in the western plains sometime soon and ride through your wheat fields.

Rad-Renner said...


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