Lincoln, Nebraska: Home on the Prairie – Smithsonian Magazine

Lincoln, Nebraska: Home on the Prairie | People & Places | Smithsonian Magazine.

Still, that landscape is the place my mind summons when I’m asked (usually in some yogic or meditative context, now that I live in Los Angeles) to close my eyes and “imagine a scene of total peace and serenity.” In those moments, I picture the Rothko-like blocks of earth and sky, the psychedelic sunsets, the sublime loneliness of a single cottonwood punctuating acres of flat prairie. I remember the sound of golf ball-size hail hitting the roof and denting the car. I remember sitting on the front porch and watching a lightning storm that was miles away but cracked the whole night open nonetheless. It was there, under that sky and at the mercy of all that weather, that I began to understand the concept of a wrathful God. In Nebraska, storms are a violence from which no amount of caution or privilege can protect you. Their warnings crawl across television screens in every season. They’ll blow you or freeze you or blind you into submission. They’ll force you into some kind of faith.

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