Forty hours in the Midwest

Missouri sunset

I am sitting in the Kansas City, Missouri International Airport (I do love an airport with free wifi), waiting for my 6 am flight back to Philly. I stayed in a Hampton Inn last night, going to bed too late to possibly get a good night’s sleep and then waking up every half hour, certain that I’d slept through my alarm and had missed my flight. When I woke with a jolt at 4 am, out of a dream in which I had been out to dinner with two couples I don’t know and was eating some strange fried sushi appetizer, I decided to give up on sleep and just get up.

When I checked in last night, the woman at the desk told me that I needed to sign up for a shuttle slot, as they filled up quickly.  When I went downstairs this morning, a couple of minutes before 4:30 am, the shuttle driver looked at me and said, “Looks like you’re the only one this run.  Take your time getting some coffee.” The drive was all of eight minutes and we spent it chatting about regional accents and the uproar in Kansas City about the proposed plan to replace the airport with something slicker and less approachable.

I spent most of my time out here in the Midwest in Ames, IA, leading a Unitarian Universalist Campus Ministry workshop.  I had a terrific time, it’s always fun for me to tell groups of students what I know about doing UU campus ministry, especially when they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the community they are building.

Last night, as Sherry and I were driving back to Kansas City from Ames, the sun was setting on our right.  I don’t often get to see dramatic sunsets in a setting where the horizon is nearly uninterrupted by city.  I watched that cloud move with us for the longest time, sometimes looking like it was galloping across the sky and other times seeming like it was being blown away.  I kept looking at it, thinking its presence would be fleeting and that I wouldn’t have time to get a picture of it, so I wouldn’t reach for my camera.  After ten minutes it was still there and so I grabbed a couple of shots.  Soon after I pulled the camera out, three deer showed up running along side the highway.  Sherry came to a halt in the middle of the interstate as two of them dashed across to the other side.  Unfortunately, my camera’s settings weren’t quite right so all I got was a blur where deer should have been.  I hope the third deer made it across without injury.

It’s been nice to get out of my routine, to get off the east coast and out of the big city.  I always like coming to the Midwest, where people are less guarded and more willing to interact with strangers.

2 thoughts on “Forty hours in the Midwest

  1. Anthony

    I think we get caught up in the big city/suburban mindset where we think that everybody is out to get us and our heads are on a swivel.
    As much as I like the area and since I grew up here, it’s home; but I can’t help but feel that I may be more comfortable in a different part of the country.

    I’m thinking the midwest or Arizona. I think it would be Arizona, since I’m ready to get out of the cold winters.


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