The temperature barely climbed over 80, the wind was up, the humidity was down, and I was thrilled to at the Symphony in the Flint Hills on Saturday. Over 5,000 people, 650 volunteers, a bunch of presenters (including me — I did workshops on journal keeping and participated in a panel of writers on the prairie as muse), the Kansas City Symphony and a whole lot of horses made the day magical. Several moments brought me to my knees because of the sheer beauty of the land, sky and music, such as when the symphony performed Copeland’s version of “Simple Gifts” just as several horses and their riders trotted or walked slowly through the distance just at the moment the sky goes from late afternoon to early evening. The final piece, from “Dances with Wolves,” featured Native people in traditional dress on horseback, riding slowly through the teepees to our far left to amble to the top of the ridge against the sunset (clouded over some but still beautiful).
The long walk down the winding trail to the valley where everyone parked was greatly improved by Native American flute music, performed live and amphified enough that we could hear it a mile away, dusk, and and the cowboys and cowgals herding us onto th
e path. From there, we drive the long line of lights to the highway, and then to the Cottage Inn Hotel in Council Grove, KS., a gem of a great old hotel, and where we got engaged many years before. Next morning, it was breakfast on the gazebo where Ken found — in our old friend Kelly — his exact twin.