Dawn on an American Prairie
An inescapable sensation of floating fills my consciousness. A state of lucidity. Not entirely awake but not asleep. Conscious of surrounding ripples, the warm meadowlark song drifts in the air. I feel translucent. Light. Time passes and there is no distance between it. Opening my eyes returns awareness to the small tent I’m laying in. Narrowing myself back to a singular perception. Birdsong here carries you away. Do these small melodic Aves feel this expansion they provoke? Awake and listening to spring birds, a meadowlark, a dove, the northern Montana prairie evokes timeless wonder. To exist for years, decades, generations, in calm natural spring-like peace, for just a moment.
Drive across the country. Long straight roads. Steep winding roads. Exhausted but excited to be here. A distant croak from a raven interrupts my thoughts and I return to the moment. Here in this prairie to listen to the dawn. Spring morning air is cool in May. I breathe in deeply and crawl out of the warm sleeping bag. Bright, flat, and yellow-green the prairie is fully awake. I can’t tell you why, but it feels nostalgic looking out across the land here. Like I’ve returned home from a long trip and everything is exactly as I left it. I think we need these moments of waking up from social existence to be alone, completely alone in a natural place. In a way this is the least alone we can be. In deep nature we are truly what we are. Ourselves with no external observation or expectation to be one way or another. Just being. Just observing.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
-T. S. Eliot
Field Recording by Nick McMahan in Montana, USA
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