See the Stars form Mount Sunflower

(Frank) We’re back. Do you think people are really going to take us serious today? (Deb) Do you think they ever really ever take us seriously? (Frank) Well, no. (Deb) Like it really matters, yes. (Frank) We stepped over line this week I think. (Deb) Yes, well, we’ve been over the line for a while. Speaking of which, Margaret Hamilton, who of course played the witch on the Wizard of Oz, I remember reading about her little boy, he was a child at the time movie came out. She wouldn’t let him see it because she was afraid it would scare him. When you see your mom looking like that, of course you’d be scared. Well, he went to a birthday party where they showed the Wizard of Oz, and this poor boy sees his mother melt at the end of the movie, so he was traumatized. Isn’t that sad? God bless him. He’s probably still in therapy today, I don’t know. We should check in on him. We were out, we did a segment on this, a week or two ago, the dedication of the Land and Sky Scenic Byway, and that’s the newest scenic byway, and it’s the gorgeous scenery out in far northwestern Kansas and the agriculture. We were out at Mount Sunflower, and this was one of the cool…it was really cold, we just about froze out there. After the sun went down, I’m telling you what Frank, it got cold, but it was a crystal clear night. It was incredible. Just a beautiful night. Our friend Brenda Culbertson was out there directing the star gazing, and I hope this is an event we can do again sometime, because more and more people should go out to Mount Sunflower and just look at the stars. (Frank) Well, out there of course without city lights and all that, you can really see the stars. (Deb) And from horizon to horizon. Now that I live out at Oakley, I feel like I live in the sky, because you walk out at night, and there are stars like there. They’re not just up there, they’re over there, and it’s like, whoa. First couple of nights it really scared me, then I got the broom and I was okay. (Frank) Yes. And the UFOs, you can see those clearly. (Deb) Yes. Really, they wave sometimes too. Let’s take a look. At 4,039 feet above sea level, Mount Sunflower is higher than any point in Pennsylvania or Ohio. From a low point along the Verdigris River in southeastern Kansas, the land rises to the west until it reaches the high point of the Continental Divide, now in Colorado, but once upon a time the western border of the Kansas Territory. Once we lopped off that piece, our summit was the high plains of Wallace County, in a rancher’s pasture. Since the summit is actually a gently sloping bit of ground, it wasn’t obvious that it was the high point in all of Kansas until the state’s centennial in 1961. Officials decided it was time to find the exact spot and came out to the Harold Ranch and declared, This is it! On a clear day, you can see Colorado from here. Heck, on any given day you throw a rock into Colorado from here. It’s just right over there. Ed and Cindy Harold welcomed dozens of folks to their place in October as one of the events in the dedication of the Land and Sky Scenic Byway. As the sun sank over Colorado, and semis in the middle of harvest raised the dust on the gravel roads surrounding Mount Sunflower, the learned astronomer Brenda Culbertson led the group in gazing at the stars. As folks wrapped in coats and blankets followed her laser pointer to the heavens, she described the Northern Crown, to many of the Native Americans a circle of great chiefs talking about people on earth and the plans they had for those people. She described the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters; to Natives dancing children who danced until they ascended to the sky. Their grandmothers tried to reach them but they were too far away and they said, We’ll try again next time you come around. Brenda pointed to the Big Dipper, Ursa Major — the Big Bear. In Native cultures, these are braves carrying the stretcher of a fallen warrior. Behind the stretcher walks the chief, then the chief’s wife and her little dog, then the medicine man. It is an honor, she said, to carry this warrior around the heavens. It was a perfect, crystal clear, starry, starry night on Mount Sunflower. We could see past Colorado. We could see forever. Ad Astra, Ad Astra. . . .

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