It’s almost August: Osage County, but not quite. Yesterday, I drove to the Tallgrass Prairie late in the afternoon. It was an unusually cool day for July in Oklahoma, mid-80s. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day and end it in one of my favorite places in the world, places that are away from the crowds, where you hear the quiet. I’m not the only one who enjoys them, it’s not like I discovered them, but I can stand alone and feel the universe.

It takes awhile to get out there, especially if you’re using the lesser traveled roads. From Tulsa, you travel through lush blackjack and scrub oak forests, which were especially green after the storms we’ve had this week. Usually, late in the summer, it’s dry and dusty. You drive through little towns that have seen better days when the oil boom of the 1920s and 30s was in full force.

The town of Pawhuska, the official gateway to the Tallgrass Prairie, is also the seat of the Osage Indian Tribe. I love this town with all its original buildings sitting mostly empty. You can see what it was and you can see the potential for a wonderful restoration of the blocks of early structures. Right now, the Drummond family, including our own Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is restoring one of the largest. I hope it is the first of many for this place. You head north, up a steep hill, and upwards towards the prairie.

As I left the more populated areas, I saw the beginnings of the prairie and stopped to watch the bees at work in a field of purple wildflowers.





The gates into the preserve are simple…


and then there is the plaque to start your visit…



and the welcoming sign.


You might think the preserve is flat, but it’s rolling and you drive along a not quite paved two lane road. I stopped at the first turnout…



As I got out of the car, I was overwhelmed with the silence. Except for the sound of the slight breeze, the buzzing of bees, and the singing of birds, it was silent in a way you never get in the city, only in these places that feel sacred in their purity. This is what it was like before man came.

The first time I came was in the winter. I came to this spot and literally raised my arms to the sky for the peace it placed in my heart that day. The next was in the fall where I stood in this same spot and watched buffalo graze…


Once I was here alone and was surrounded on the road by the buffalo herd as I sat in my car staring back at the shaggy beasts a foot from me. I should have been afraid, especially since I read that those 2,000 pound beasts can jump 6 feet straight in the air or at you. But the time I was surrounded, we were all at peace with each other and they went their way and then I went mine. Other times, I’ve seen the herd beside the road, mothers with calves, big shaggy beasts with eyes that watch you without blinking. This time, I saw the herd in the distance in a couple of places, peaceful in their natural habitat as they should be.



I did get a glance from the other herds in the area with these two eyeing me from the side of the road…



I drove slowly along the road, stopping to get out and admire the creeks and flowers…




and watch the butterflies flitting and the meadowlarks, hawks, and other birds swooping in the late afternoon…



I thought this was a bird because of the size, but even blowing up the picture, I’m not sure what I saw..


An interesting cloud formation caused me to stop…


and then head for home. One of those afternoons that restores your soul…