Monday, August 15, 2011

Nebraska, explained

Sometimes, words are wholly insufficient in explaining a place and a people.

Sometimes, only art will do.

Consider this sculpture garden in downtown Omaha -- Pioneer Courage, it is called -- as good an explanation of this city, of this state, as any you will find in history texts.

When the white man fanned out across the Plains, as Willa Cather wrote in My Antonia, “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

In 1854, the year Omaha was incorporated, there weren't even trees to be found on this vast prairie. The pioneers . . . the homesteaders planted them all.

I love this park. It's where the pioneers silently and eternally press on through our past -- and headlong into the future they bequeathed us.

No comments: