I drove what seemed like all day. But it was only half as much as yesterday. Big mushroom-shaped thunderstorms loomed in the expanse of desert in front of me. The lightning looked strangely three-dimensional, not flat against the sky the way it looks back home, but in a precise place in the middle ground. Mostly, I drove in bright, hot sunlight, but a few of those blinding storms hit me. One made the temperature -- around 100 all day -- suddenly drop to 67. But I was inside the car, with the windows up and the air conditioning on. I was just reading the numbers on the dashboard.
I'm in love with the beauty of the western landscapes. But at the same time, I know that without the car, this place would be frightening and dangerous. I delighted when the ground went from green to brown as I drove west, and the land went from gentle hills to gigantic, ragged rocks. But it is only because there is so much land like Nebraska and Iowa that I'm in a position to see these desiccated landscapes as beautiful. Without all the affluence produced on that land I snub, I would have to see all this as a tragic wasteland.
But it's beautiful, isn't it?
Helping make it beautiful: