Driving north from Pierre, I continued on my journey toward North Dakota. I crossed a lot of rich farmland interspersed with rolling, grassy wilderness. Small towns were few and far between, but generally delighted me, with their blend of new and old. A lot, I just appreciated as I drove past, but I couldn’t resist photographing these two buildings in far northern South Dakota.
The first is a wonderful, old grain elevator. The style is similar to that of the Hawes Grain Elevator Museum in Illinois, about which I posted earlier, but the size is considerably greater. You can see the “downspouts” on the side that permit unloading grain into transport trucks.
Across the street was a shop that reminded me that in rural areas, the separation between farm and food supply is not as great as it is in urban areas. Here, you can shop and get your meat processed.
There are many joys out here. Of course, the people are wonderful, but I’ve already mentioned them. While wandering about the farm or driving through the countryside, I have seen deer and wild turkeys. The barn swallows are constantly swooping around the house—beautiful little birds, dark blue and peach, with long, distinctive, forked tails.
Going outside at night is remarkable. The silence reminded me how unusual it is to ever have silence even in the suburbs of a big city—not silence like this. Even the wind has quieted down. It is a deep, peaceful quiet. And with no lights nearby, the stars are unbelievable. This was not the first time I was able to see the stunning fields of stars that are so often made invisible by “light pollution” in heavily populated areas. My travels in the Australian outback had offered me views as astonishing—and yet it had been a while. I was delighted beyond measure with the great, sparkling universe made so visible by the darkness and so unobstructed by the flat land with no buildings besides the farmhouse. Just wonderful.