The earth is flat to the distant eye. He knew this as he stood in middle of the prairie and contemplated the featureless land that surrounded him. A monolithic mass with a horizon too far away to make sense.
Beneath it all she lay lost and away as if covered by a plain blanket with no marker to ever find her again. It was what rooted him to the spot…fear of losing her beyond the distance she had already gone; it was too much to bear.
Minutes turned into hours and he became as still and functional as the erect mast of a sun dial by which the clouds could tell time…should they have ever cared to.
Finally he gave in to a creeping weakness…a cramping of the legs that told him if he didn’t at least sit down he would fall and so sit he did. Slowly he folded up into himself, his posture matching his heart. As he lowered toward the ground he felt as if he were a thousand feet tall and he were sky diving…everything was slow.
Inch by inch and second by second as he sat he became aware of an emerging variety that appeared lost in his grief. Individual prairie grasses took his eye – there was wheat grass and blue stem; side oats and small green clumps of sedge…there again was wild rye and sweet grass.
He took it in and as he did so he placed his hand on the ground to take his weight and felt the good soil beneath. There were hard pebbles and shifting densities, moist from a recent rain. Scattered amidst the grasses were pink wild roses and yellow heart-leaved alexanders.
Closer inspection revealed small ants moving along here and there while the ear led his eyes to dragon flies emerging in the cooling end of the day to feast on smaller mosquitoes.
For a moment he had forgotten her in his wrapt awareness of the utter complexity of the land.Then he remembered what he had lost and laid himself prostrate pressing his cheek and ear to the dirt’s embrace in the jungle of grass and flowers and wept.
He knew she would be ok in this place. More importantly he knew he would find her again. It was not so indistinct and distant now. When he turned over later as the sun had set and the stars had come out to witness them he saw that each was a lighthouse that would lead him back here when he needed safe harbour.
Beneath the silent moon he finally stood and left with the knowledge of the place forever embedded in him.