Two months after arriving in Oklahoma, I ran my fingers down the red sandstone walls of Red Rock Canyon State Park. The texture was surprisingly like velvet and the sand came off like dust, leaving my finger tips the colour of ochre.
In the time since, I have discovered the red earth is the soul of Oklahoma. It is in the water, the sky and beneath every step.
The day I took the journal with me was one of those rare Autumn days. The temperature was just on the cusp of cool and the skies were crystal clear blue. Many of the leaves were turning and the wind from the previous week had taken down a fair number. The light reached much deeper into the crevices of the canyon trail.
I met another photographer taking advantage of the gentle conditions. Her name is Betty and she was visiting Oklahoma from Dallas. The furthest she had been in Oklahoma was Turner Falls and had no idea was the rest of the state was about. Having come through the Wichita Mountains, she was on her way to Tallgrass Prarie. She told me how surprising it was that Oklahoma had such diverse landscapes.
I have to agree.
The one thing each side of the state does have in common, however, is the colour of the soil. Even the rocks are stained red and it is red that embeds itself on everything when the winds begins to blow.
On my way back home from Red Rock, I passed a field of cows. A pumpjack dusted red, rocked on the horizon moving slowly and in rhythm. The sun was beginning to lower and I stopped on the roughly paved road to enjoy the silence. The wind was gentle and the only noise was the thump of cattle shifting their weight on the crimson clay soil, chasing grass of gold.