"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The greenest Oklahoma August

Green, as far as you can see, from top of Mount Scott, looking southwest
Green and August are opposites in Oklahoma, or they have been as long as I can remember...until this year.
One view from inside the visitor center
Instead of a scorched countryside withering under more than 30 straight days of triple digit temperatures, most of the state has had lots of rain, the temps have reached only into the 90s, and there is green everywhere.
A recent trip to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton brought that home even more. In a view from the top of Mount Scott, there was green everywhere. The farm ponds were full. 
It had been years since I'd been there, and I can only remember searing summer temperatures. This time the trip was pleasant with cool temperatures and green vistas.
Medicine Park street sign
The village of Medicine Park is artsy and humorous. A sign offered swimming for $2. The new wildlife refuge visitor center is  spacious and interesting, with artifacts, educational exhibits, a stone mural, and bit windows to look out at the countryside and herds of longhorns. The 97 percent-lean longhorn beef Meers burger is delicious, flavored with rustic decorations, old mining gear, non-nonsense cash-only service.
Coming home on back roads, there were green valleys surrounded by trees that made me think of Wisconsin, or some well-watered place. But no, it's Oklahoma, in the greenest August I've seen.
Part of mural in visitor center

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