The Middle of Everywhere // Keegan Amos
The eldo sledgehammer.
Abstract: Visiting the middle of everywhere brings a unique experience for each individual.
Audience: When talking about the middle of everywhere to an individual who has never been, they usually perceive this place as empty and desolate. When in fact the middle of everywhere contains more than the eye can see.
"The Middle of Everywhere"
It’s unlike anything one would expect to experience. It holds true to itself and remains desolate, as it has since its existence, seemingly untouched by man. When you travel to this place it’s as if you’re exposed to something new and unexpected each time. Upon each return you begin to slowly develop a love for the place, one that is unique to the characteristics it contains. Nothing like the love one may have for a city or town, or the comfort from your home.
The hills here roll as far as the eye can see, as if they were to never end. Almost falling off the edge of the world. Each visit to the middle of everywhere comes with unexpected events that seem to pull you back each time you leave. The middle of everywhere in Kansas truly is one of a kind.
The middle of everywhere differs from any other place you may go, though at first you wonder why you are even out there to begin with. Some may think there’s nothing special about a place seemingly so empty, but once you experience this place, you’ll never forget it and you begin to realize it’s not empty at all.
The reminisce of homesteaders are still visible as you pass by many abandoned limestone structures and old barns, with the exception of a few ranchers still living off the land. The roads flow with the landscape they were paved on, keeping the experience of driving through it as natural as possible, rarely slicing into the land. Quite unlike visiting a new city where roads are just a means to an end. Not here, not in the middle of everywhere, where the roads carry you through the trees and over creeks, creating an experience unlike that of the roads in a city.
In a city you can expect large buildings, cars laying on the horn, vast amounts of good and bad smells, and of course people. In the middle of everywhere the largest building is a barn off in the distance. A mere ant compared to that of a city building. You never have to “look both ways” before crossing a road because traffic ceases to exist. A passerby every now and then, mostly though a rancher and his tractor or flatbed work truck whisking by. No traffic lights telling you when to go or stop, or to signal you when to cross the street. Cattle, instead of people, can be seen grazing on the pastures that have held its roots since the glacial retreat, with the northeastern parts of Kansas and one-third of North America was covered in ice.
You can begin to realize that noise doesn’t live here either, only sounds. Noise in cities become a backdrop in your surrounding as you go through your day. Subconsciously processing it but never giving it any real attention until it matters. Out in the middle of everywhere, sounds become important and more delicate. They help to create the peaceful environment that many animals thrive in. It’s of birds chirping around you which virtually go unheard in a city. They create original songs that are so peaceful, on the right day you want to lay in a field and purely listen as they sing above your head. You can even stumble across a sound from a snake that is warning you to stay away before it strikes. Pray to never be so unfortunate.
There are the sounds of trees and tallgrass brushing up against one another as large gusts of winds sweep through the rolling hills. All these sounds and many more become carried through your surrounds, triggering senses that are different from that of a city. You are attuned to these sounds and is something you tend to miss when you’re back in a city.
Wind is also at it greatest out here is because there is nothing obstructing its path to carry the various smells that coexist. Not unlike the smells that pollute a city, like the smells of car exhausts, a dumpster in an alley, or someone smoking a cigarette on the side of a street. The smells that exist in the middle of everywhere are more refreshing, depending on what the wind decides to carry that day. Sometimes the unpleasant smell from the herds of cows, or a skunk that was protecting itself from danger in the distance. But at least in the middle of everywhere your nose can pinpoint exactly where such smells may be coming from. The most important smell, which greatly differs from a city, is the simple smell of fresh air. Filling your lungs with the virtually unpolluted air is one aspect that you may miss more than anything in this peaceful landscape.
Meteo Blue: Climate Kansas City
There is one characteristic that surpasses any other in the middle of everywhere Kansas. A scene that is so serene and perfect that you never want it to end. If freezing time was possible everyone would freeze it at the exact same moment after visiting the middle of everywhere for the first time. It’s not a scene that you are aware of when you first arrive at this isolated destination; you have to spend the entirety of the day until it starts to reveal itself. The middle of everywhere Kansas sunset will almost certainly be what you least expect. The sun is at its lowest and least powerful of the day as the it bounces its rays against the golden hills creating a rainbow of warm colors across Western sky. A moment where it seems time does stand still, putting you in a trance for a short moment before it disappears.
The middle of everywhere is a place you go to find solitude, to get away from all the distractions. It’s the middle of everywhere that brings you back down to Earth. Reminding you that there is life outside of a city, where you don’t need to live vicariously through your phone. It’s a place that doesn’t need anything to sustain itself beside what mother nature provides. The middle of everywhere is a place quite unlike anything you would ever experience.
Written by Keegan Amos
Gary Larson: The Far Side Gallery 4, Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 12.
Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters: 1862–1912