"Pioneers in Kansas," mural by J. Ward
Lockwood, a Kansas native, hangs in the U.S. Federal Building in Wichita,
stagecoach laden with mail and passengers marks the center of the
canvas; a Pony Express rider and a Native American exchange
fire on the left side of
the canvas; a vulture flies above the rider, symbolizing imminent danger and
death. A pioneer couple stands
on the right side of the
canvas; a black steam engine emerges behind the couple, symbolizing
continued western expansion.
You can never really escape. It
goes with you, wherever you go. Somehow, the prairie dust gets in your
blood, and it flows through your veins until it becomes a part of you.
The vast stretches of empty fields, the flat horizons of treeless
plains. The simplicity of the people—good, earnest people. The way
they talk and the way they live. The lack of occurrence, lack of
attention, lack of everything. All that—it’s etched into your soul and
it colors the way you see everything and it becomes a part of you.
P.S. Baber, Cassie Draws the
Historic People of Kansas: