It's been nearly twelve years since we parted our ways. I know it seems like a century ago, and I haven't been in touch as much as I would have liked. This may surprise you, since we didn't part on the best of terms. I was sick and tired of you. Your vast, wide-open spaces kept even the closest neighbors miles away, and it frustrated my social nature. I was bored with your crops, your ditches, your sandy dirt roads. It took me many minutes and miles to reach the closest civilizations offering movies or malls or grocery stores. Your silence was deafening, forcing me to think about nothing else than my desire to see what else the world held...so, I left you.
I came to the big city. In fact, I could not have picked a more densely populated area to discover. I can't say I've loved every minute of it, nor can I say I regret my move...but I certainly found out what I was missing: traffic, mostly. Not to say I haven't appreciated my time and opportunities in the booming metropolis that is Southern California. California has much to offer...but time or space is not one of them.
Kansas, I'm sorry. Turns out, I took you for granted. We certainly had our fond moments...I built several treehouses, I wrote poetry in your fields, I wandered your hills (did you know most people don't think you have any hills at all?) and even got baptized in one of your lakes. Perhaps it is pure nostalgia, certainly it is growth in maturity and as they say - absence, making my heart grow fonder for your land - where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play (by the way, where are said antelope?) Nevertheless, when I visit you now, I like you. Your open spaces now mock me, staring at me with luxurious breadth across the horizon, reminding me how precious of a resource having-an-arm's-length-between-buildings has become. And the miles needed to travel between your small towns can easily be calculated as minutes (10 miles = 10 minutes to get there!) something I would love to be able to accomplish amidst the traffic in the city. The silence in your heartland is something to be cherished as well. Your countrysides don't seem as boring to me as they once did...they are peaceful, serene, and lovingly predictable to watch. Your birds and wildlife are beautiful too - and as abundant as the stars overhead that I can actually see. (Did you have this many stars overhead when I was growing up?)
Don't change, Kansas. Don't try to become something you're not. You may not be coastal, but you will always offer oceans of wheat as you swirl waves of grain on your blustery days. You may not be mountainous, but you will always offer a view with your fiery sunsets or heat up the sky with flashes of lightening strikes on a stormy night. You are rich, you are comfortable, you are Kansas.