In Defense of the Nebraska Landscape

Nebraska Prairie #1

As someone who finds the wide open spaces of my state beautiful, I heartily concur with this recent Curator Magazine piece by Matthew Miller.

At the risk of sounding obtuse or narrowly regionalist, I want to claim that while the Plains may not be as showy as other landscapes, not as appropriate to calendars or billboards, they hold a beauty as powerful as any other region. If mountains and oceans impress us with their vastness, I counter with the vastness of the sky and the plains — only on the Great Plains do you get a sense of the hugeness not of one particular geological formation, but of the world itself: earth and sky distilled to their essentials. And if this seems too simple and stark for you, if you prefer the complexity and detail of forests and hills, I put to you the prairie grass after a rain, when infinite nuances of oranges, yellows, greens and grays arise on the land. I have lived and traveled in other regions, and I remain baffled as to why even we Midwesterners, in a place of such compelling if simple beauty, allow our tastes to be defined by other people’s land.