Dispatch from Denver/Western edge of the High Plains

Denver makes good plain sense. Except for the part about water.

seed sign denverIn New Orleans, there’s too much water. No, it’s not even an issue of too much. The place was built in its own watery flotsam of silt, sand and clay, and therefore it sinks. So I don’t think it’s fair to talk about water in terms of “too much” there. It just is. in. water. And stuff.

You can’t get much further away from watery gravy infrastructure than Denver. Denver is at the westernmost edge of the High Plains and to a great degree relies on a diminishing supply of water pumped out of the shallow Ogallala Aquifier.


As I got ready to return to Nebraska’s Art Farm artist residency for the second time, just about a year to the day since my last visit, I prepared myself for brown, crackling stalks of cornfields, mile upon mile of them, and scorched grasses flanking either side of Interstate 80 that runs through the town of Ogallala, kind of sort of tracing the Platte River.

But it was green. Green as far as the eye could see. Green stalks of corn, green grass, green trees, chatty birds, and reservoirs filled to the brim. Last year the Platte was a place to find old cow bones and watch kids do tricks in their ATVs. This year I will find a swimming hole.

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