As The Ogallala Road begins, I have returned to Kansas to research the watershed where I was born and raised. I begin in what we called “the canyon pasture.” A canyon in that part of the country is not quite as dramatic as a canyon in say Utah. On a trip to Kansas this summer, I took this picture of a place that reminded me of what it looked like.
From the book, a Canyon flashback:
Once, we heard a buzzing sound and jumped back from the bush I’d been about to reach beneath. A tongue-flicking, tail-rattling snake lay coiled at our feet. Its vibrant, diamond-shaped head bobbed in the air, mouth open, fangs bared.
“Why is it wiggling its tongue at us?” I asked.
“That’s how it smells you,” said Bruce. Also my elder, but closer to my age than Clark, he loved nothing more than goading me.
“It can’t strike this far though,” Clark said. “We’re safe.”