We drove to Steve’s in Boree Springs just before dawn. He serves us good coffee in his beautiful and utterly unique sustainable house, a house that he has been evolving and adapting to climate change and the economy over the last thirty years. While the rest of us loose our air conditioning and run out of power Steve will be selling electricity to the grid from his solar panels, sitting in his Persian influenced cooling garden. We head out past lines of trucks weighing their newly harvested grain at the elevators. Steve knows how to drive a harvestor, he knows a lot of practical things and has his own opinions on the state of the world, informed by eclectic reading and a keen sense of which way the wind blows. He’s his own man.
He takes us to The Rock, and its really the first real rock outcropping I’ve seen on these vast plains with their huge grid of fertile fields and farms. The Rock is off this grid, and rises up through the ecosystems like a mini continental divide separating the vast plains that drain the snowy mountains on the east from the more arid farmlands stretching out on the west all the way to “the bite”, that huge missing mouthfull of land on the south coast. When we get to the saddle after climbing steeply Steve suddenly stops. He hears something. He hears the sound of being “here”, of being “home”. The sound comes with memories attached. Let him tell it.