Print No. 3: The exclamation point of life on the Great Plains, violent thunderstorms fascinate and often thrill Nebraskans, who by their birthright inherited spring hail, torrential rains, and destructive tornadoes.
One of the fascinating things about most residents of the US is the singular answer they’ll give when asked about the Nebraska landscape: “It’s so flat, you can see from one end of the state to the other!”
That answer tells those who live here just how far off Interstate 80 the opinion-holders have ventured; often, it’s less than a mile. Yes, the Platte River valley, through which I-80 runs most of the length of the state, is flat. It is a valley, after all. The same could be said for Oregon’s Willamette valley, near where I used to live. It is just as flat from south of Eugene to near Salem; rumor has residents of Corvallis found a hill in town, once, and killed it.
No, Nebraska isn’t flat–mostly. The huge, rolling treeless Sand Hills, the Loess Hills, the Pine Ridge and Wildcat Hills all bear testament to the contrary of flatness. This image of the northwest badlands in the Nebraska Panhandle could be considered Exhibit A.
I nearly passed out when I found this tree yesterday. I have been searching for more than 15 years for a single tree in western Nebraska, on the right flat, grassy expanse, with the right clouds, at the right time of year, and I spent six hours with this one. I walked away with five usable images, one of which is this one.