You don’t realize how wonderful it is until it’s gone – isn’t that how the saying goes?
An eighteen-year-old version of myself couldn’t wait to get out of Kansas, to leave the plains behind and start a new life someplace different. I think that comes pretty natural to a lot of folks, but I really couldn’t wait to get away – to dive into new experiences and embrace the discomfort.
That was half a lifetime ago. I’m a man in his mid-thirties now, and the world looks a lot different than it once did. Adventure seems easier and life seems less complicated somehow, even though a lot of the idealism and hope and optimism has been tempered by various broken relationships, job losses, and debts. The upswing is that I have never put down the camera; if anything, the camera continues to fuel my optimism, my love of small experiences, my appreciation of the little details.
Life isn’t perfect, that’s for sure. But how could we ever deny the beauty of a long, slow-burning sunset?
Once upon a time, I wanted to escape the Midwest. Now I enjoy it, more and more, every single time I return. This is a photograph I made driving through the most remote areas of Western Kansas. Completely flat, nothing but farms, unincorporated towns, and a dreadful lack of gas stations. But there is beauty here, that much is certain.