I love the Midwest landscape. The endless fields, the flatness, and its overwhelming sky, all have a special fondness with me. Like Lori, it’s the place where I grew up and I still feel its pull and how it has marked me for life. When it rains I think about how the farmers will be happy. Throughout the summer I try to remember at what stage the different crops should be at, or what would be growing in the garden. (When is the corn knee high?) And this is twenty-plus years after moving off the farm. Those feelings just won’t go away, but the details have grown fuzzy, and that really bothers me. See, I never dreamed I’d end up living in a big city. It was the farthest thing from my mind. But, starting with college, I gradually began a migration to the east until I somehow ended up in Brooklyn. It took a long time to make peace with my new surroundings, and if asked how I like living in New York, I’ll grudgingly say it’s ok. But, I don’t think I’ll ever allow myself to like it, and will never love it no matter how well I adapt to the urban life. I guess it makes me feel disloyal to my roots.
We had occasion to drive through the Midwest this past week and I found it very comforting. It’s like I could finally stretch and take a full breath of fresh air after months of swallowing the grit and grime of New York City. Distance was no longer measured by city blocks, but by country miles and small towns. Riding in the car my head was on a swivel, trying to take in every detail. I’ll try to soak up as much of the sights and sounds as I can, knowing it will be a while before I return. Lori and I are quite fortunate in that our Brooklyn apartment sits alongside the park, so I can still watch the seasons change and smell the freshness of the trees as they give off their oxygen at night. But for now, I’ll keep enjoying the soft breeze, the sound of the birds, and the scent of honeysuckle.