“This is Oklahoma?”
The geographic diversity of this state never ceases to amaze, but it isn’t every day we lay eyes on a place so beautiful that infatuation is instantaneous.
“I know we just bought a house, and it would be a hell of a commute, but let’s live here.”
The place is Black Mesa, the farthest corner of the Oklahoma panhandle stretching into New Mexico and Colorado, and it may be one of the most beautiful places in the world not just for its overwhelming views but for a sense of freedom that seems to exude from the soil. It’s as though the spirit of the land itself is somewhere beyond untamable, somewhere completely removed from our parasitic grasp. It exists in an alternate plane, a mirage, a chimera, a place out of reach of conscious understanding of land as something to own and control, of land as something that belongs to anything other than its own wild heart, the forever, and the divine.
This was the home of the nomadic Great Plains tribes, the home of the free roaming buffalo, the home of the wagon trails of the pioneers. Itinerant shelter and wild wide open, this is a place where the repression in societal development is an unknowable foreign concept, this is a place free from the troubles of the bustling world miles away. And to someone with an unbroken freewheeling spirit, this is a place where riding becomes a dance with its spirit and mine, a place to breath and expand, a place welcoming without expectation or tether, where moving freely is as natural and routine as a heartbeat and to be part of that, however brief a time in the history of it all, is an indescribable honor.
“I do not want to settle down in the houses you would build for us. I love to roam over the wild prairie. There I am free and happy.” – Satanta (White Bear), Kiowa chief
We already have a future trip back to Black Mesa planned and I will photograph more stationary shots then as well as give more detail about Black Mesa itself. As you can see, as we arrived at Black Mesa New Mexico side a storm blew in so I had to shoot fast while riding. I probably dragged it out a little more than I should’ve, but that’s a story for the next post.
I love your opening description and the photos are as awesome as always!
Thank you 🙂
Dharma – you’ve perfectly articulated this part of Oklahoma. It’s been well over a decade since my last visit to that area, and I still remember how amazed I was when I saw it, and how wild and lovely it was.
Your essay and photos remind me that it’s been too long…I need to head back that way. Maybe I’ll see you, when I go.
We should meet up! You have such a great eye. I love seeing the same place, same day thru two different sets of eyes. It makes for such neat shoots. And it is amazing out there. I seriously want to grab my tent and just go stay there.
The way I even discovered the OK panhandle was through my friend Darryl; he and I spent a lovely day driving through it in the early 2000s. Darryl lives about 90 miles from Lubbock, and I see him a couple of times a year. Yesterday, I met a friend for coffee (I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, but that’s another story) here in Lubbock; although I live in Lubbock, I work 40 miles away so it’s unusual for me to be in town on a weekday afternoon. So, coffee. I’d been there only a few minutes when Darryl walks in. All of those “I almost NEVER do this” events from yesterday stacked up just right, I guess.
Anyway, since it happened on the same day I’d commented on your post, and had been thinking about Darryl, I took it as a sign that we do, indeed, need to meet up one of these days…
I love those kind of omen filled days. I’ll message you when we head back that way and see if we can coordinate a meet up.
Beautiful photos, beautiful location.
Thank you 🙂
I so want to ride the Black Mesa!!
Your part of the world and mine are so different 🙂
Thanks for sharing the quote by Satanta
I heart your part of the world too! I do miss the South, but there is such amazing geographic variety here it’s never boring. Isn’t that a fabulous quote? It was on a marker out there and I can’t imagine they could have found a better one to use.