My New Journey is to Explore my Own Backyard, Dodge County
“Tray tables up, seats in the upright position,” said the voice over the intercom.
Normally when I fly, my seat is positioned on the aisle. It’s a challenge sitting still at times, and this gives me easy access to get up and move.
But this day all the aisle seats were booked, so the next best option was to plop down next to the window.
The flight to Denver from Omaha was short, so it wasn’t a big deal. Outside my window the sky was a springtime blue, clear and clean, that period of time before farmers till the earth and humidity creates a haze of dust.
As the plane ascended and arched westward, I was unable to motivate myself to read the book I brought, so instead I plastered my face against the plastic window and searched for familiar landmarks.
The same feeling of curiosity filled me like it had as I rode down empty roads in foreign countries far from home.
Questions occupied my mind: What’s happening out there, who’s out there and where are these people going?
After a few moments, I noticed a road that looked familiar. It was U.S. Highway 77 heading straight north. I knew that because I could see the new highway bypass around Hooper.
Directly below me must have been Fremont; I couldn’t see it because the plane was just a tad bit too far to the north.
The flight route drifted a little south and suddenly below me was the Platte River, its shallow channels weaving around tan sand bars and brown leafless trees.
Highway 30 served as a compass as it cut west through North Bend. Heading straight north from North Bend was Nebraska Highway 79; on the horizon I could see Snyder and Scribner. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can see almost all of Dodge County.”
For whatever reason, the flight to Denver remained low and followed the Platte River for a large stretch of the journey.
Below I noticed Columbus, the Loup Canal and River, Grand Island, North Platte, and I even think I spotted Burwell where I had my first visit just a couple of weeks earlier.
The Nebraska Sandhills had a dusting of white snow from winter’s last snowstorm of the season. Squares transformed into center pivot circles from high in the sky.
It brought back memories of the Nasca Lines in Peru, where ancient figures of animals can only be seen from the air.
As the plane landed in Colorado, I thought back to that moment over North Bend, and the feeling of being able to see almost all of Dodge County.
A question of curiosity filled me, “How well do I know my own backyard?”
I have traveled around the world twice, maybe it’s time to explore my home.
Besides, traveling has changed me; I’ve been exposed to new and different ideas about life and seen so many poor places that practiced kindness, maybe its time to see the home turf with my new set of eyes.
So this is the start. For the next several weeks, I will spend a day walking across each town in Dodge County and share with you the local adventure … “A Walk Across Dodge County.”