november colors dakota


honk gray geese vee tattoo

across low-flying sky’s ceiling.


ice-edged blue pond fingers

reedy border of dry wild rice.


undulating green winter wheat field

interrupted by bare windbreak.


peely red shed leans lopsided into

prevailing prairie headwinds.


buff-brown buck grazes placidly

among herd of hardy range cattle.


flap black crow caws contrary to

silently melting snow pile.


tufted straw-gold crop debris

disk-mixed into fallow, fertile soil.


sunny silver beams gleam earthward

 between radiant cracks in clouds.


inspired white church steeple points

gratefully back toward heaven.


the best is history

The dusty village of Buffalo Springs, (population: 35 plus a dozen chickens) rests at the junction of Hiway 46 and a rutted gravel road named Percival Street. Myrtle’s granddaddy homesteaded here.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the B & B Railroad brought people west and travelers would gladly pay to stay at the fancy Hanover Hotel on Main Avenue. Buffalo Springs was a bustling boom town.

Now the only business left is my Uncle Ed’s rustic diner with a couple gas pumps out front, and a neon blue “OPEN” sign in the window. Inside, a shabby buffalo head is mounted above the antique brass cash register.

A few well-worn leather stools line up along the granite counter where Myrtle stacks napkins and calls, “Be right with you, honey!” She sashays over to me, the lone customer at my usual table, with coffee pot in hand and a sharp pencil tucked into her graying curls.

If the few passing cars didn’t need to refuel before entering the badlands of Dakota, Buffalo Springs would have disappeared altogether from the scene, like the herds of bison that once roamed here.