Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kansas: We're not in Kansas anymore or are we?

This Day in History: January 29, 1861

Kansas, the Sunflower State

List of US State Flowers: www.ask.com

The nickname "Sunflower State" calls to mind the wild flowers of the plains of Kansas. Also, nicknamed the "World's Bread Basket," the great state of Kansas leads our nation in wheat production; has given us leaders in politics, aviation, and sports, and fuels our Hollywood image of the Wild West (Dodge City). The state motto of Kansas is Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through difficulties).


Aerial America: Kansas
There's more to Kansas than its wide-open spaces and endless skies might indicate. It's where aviation pioneers took flight and civil rights heroes fought back. Where Laura Ingalls Wilder documented life on the prairie and a fictional young girl dreamed of a life "Over the Rainbow." It's also home of the first battle of the Civil War and the ongoing collegiate basketball war between Wildcats and Jayhawks. Enjoy this soaring tour through the Sunflower State.
Would Kansas become a free state or a slave state? That was the question when Kansas was open to settlement in 1854. The area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as forces collided, giving it the name Bleeding Kansas. Abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. It is the 34th state to be accepted into the Union of the United States. Modern day Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states with high yields of wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers being produced annually.
Kansas is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States.
Kansas State Flag
The state flag of Kansas (adopted in 1927) features the Kansas state seal
centered on on a field of dark blue. The seal depicts the history of Kansas and
the figures representing pioneer life. Above the seal is the state crest -
a sunflower (official state flower of Kansas) resting on a twisted
blue and gold bar that represents the Louisiana Purchase.
Kansas State Seal

 Western Meadowlark photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Kansas State Bird: Western Meadowlark
The western meadowlark was designated the official state bird of Kansas in 1937. The Western Meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent. The western meadowlark is often seen perched on fence-posts in grasslands and agricultural areas singing its distinct 7-10 note melody (their flute-like song usually ends with 3 descending notes).
Kansas State Flower: Wild Native Sunflower
Fast Fact:
When a Kansas state lawmaker attended a rodeo that was out of the state in the late 1800s, he noticed something that surprised him: other Kansans wearing sunflowers to identify themselves as being from "the Sunflower State." Inspired by this, George Morehouse returned home and filed legislation to make the sunflower the state's official floral emblem.
In 1903, the wild native sunflower, also known as the common sunflower, became the official state flower of Kansas. (Interestingly, less than a decade earlier, lawmakers had unsuccessfully called for the eradication of the "noxious weed.") In their legislation, lawmakers praised the sunflower as a symbol of the state's "frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies" as well as the state's present and future.
For the State Symbols of Kansas click HERE!

"Home on the Range" was originally written as the poem, "My Western Home" in the early 1870s by Dr. Brewster Higley. Once set to music by Daniel E. Kelley, a friend of Higley, the song became a favorite among pioneers and cowboys. Its words and tune quickly spread across the United States.
The song was later revised by David Guion, who is often given credit as the song's composer. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed it to be his favorite song. Because Higley had written the song while in Kansas, and because the song seemed to so fit the state, the Kansas Legislature chose it as the state song on June 30, 1947.

"Home on the Range" is commonly regarded as the unofficial anthem of the American West. It is often performed in programs and concerts of American patriotic music. The song has been used in countless movies and shows, being sung by everyone from Willie Nelson to Porky Pig.

We're not in Kansas anymore
or are we?

Tallgrass is swaying within the prairie
do you feel the breeze?
Eastern hardwood forests
house nature's winged legacy in their trees

Regal Fritillary male nectaring on Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) Photo by Jim Mason
 Regal butterflies tap prairie violets 
nectaring at flowers 
 Moments end in disputes
or chases in nuptial flights for hours
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
 Thousands of waterfowl and passerines
reflect unique birds indeed
Ruby-throated hummingbirds
satisfy solitary souls in need

 Bison roaming within this landscape
no longer doth run free
 Instead graze on grasses
Behind fences of captivity

We sure may not be in Kansas

then again we just may be
Either way the prairie calls
"Buzz right on over, come see me"

©2014 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

No comments:

Post a Comment