In the modern world, staying connected means keeping up with world news, following the latest trends, and plugging into social media. While the prairie might not have much in the way of popular culture, it does offer the possibility of connections far deeper than can be achieved among the distractions of city life. On the prairie, there is no safety cushion, no guardrail, and nothing screening you from experiencing the land in its full glory.
Despite living without the small luxuries that are commonplace in a city, I wanted nothing. We had a warm house for shelter from the elements, a car that never stopped pushing through mud and snow, and even electricity and indoor-plumbing (for the most part). Beyond material things, I had crew mates that formed a sort of dysfunctional family: always looking out for each other and celebrating the goofiness that results from a bit of cabin fever. There was no void left by the absence of superficial cares and impersonal encounters.
Life on the prairie may not move at the speed of a celebrity scandal, and the issues may be more localized than global warfare, but that’s the beauty of it. Each day is an adventure into connecting with each other, oneself and the immediate surroundings. It was refreshing to unplug my Smartphone and plug into the prairie.
Born and raised in the Arizona desert, Jennifer Presler has a degree in Molecular Biology and Ecology. She has worked with captive raptors at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, on a geobiology project at Biosphere-2, researching warblers in the mountains near Tucson, and prairie dogs in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan.