Friday, August 31, 2012

Travellog: Nebraska to Illinois

We both love looking out over the corn fields. Neither of us are tired of them yet. Though it is strange: just where are the mountains?

Windmills towered over dry crops; corn fields so stunted not even my Ada could get lost in them. But even with so many in yellow and green ombres I feel a sense of American pride at our resilience and faith; there's a sense in the air here that we're going to keep on keeping on. 

Middle-America is surprising in how unsurprising it is. It is exactly as I've always pictured it—red barns and shiny silos, green and yellow fields and tractors, long rows of sprinklers attached to those giant wheels, trucks, blue skies, hay. It seems wholesome. It seems like exactly what it is: the core of my country.

I had never traveled through the middle section of America. I didn't know how beautiful Iowa was. Or how water towers stand over every town. I told Mike that coming up on a city in the Midwest is so different from coming up on a city out West. Where I'm from, you know you're nearing a city when you start to climb a hill. Once you summit you usually see a town or two nestled in the valley between the mountain you just came over and the one in the distance that you have to drive up next.

Out there they just seemed to appear out of now where. The only indicator was the water tower, bearing the town's name.

Main Street. Keokuk, IO, USA
Keokuk Water Plant on the Mississippi River
We stayed the night in Keokuk, Iowa. Before calling it a night, we drove down Main Street, across the Mississippi and up the banks a few miles and visited Nauvoo. It was off season. The pageants had all ended just over a week before.

We had the whole place to ourselves.

Missionaries and tour guides still stood eager to lead tours through the various historic buildings, but the streets were empty. We decided to pull the bikes off the back of the car and ride through the streets. It was the best decision we made. Ada sat up front, proudly patting her shiny helmet and feeling the wind race past her. It felt so good to be moving and actually feeling the elements brush past, dust and all. I thought numerous times that day just how strange travel is. You don't feel any of the places you rush past. And yet, for those living there, they feel it so much sometimes it's painful.

Two days in the car must have made her feel like she had some serious reconnecting to do with nature because I'm fairly certain that her favorite part of the day came when she was sifting through wood-chips at the abandoned "Pioneer Past Times" post and rubbing her dusty hands on her sweaty face. Mike and I sat there and watched her, cementing the outing in our brains so when things are wild we can remember that breeze, that simplicity, that little baby who just needs a pile of dirt and two loving parents.

Naming colors on the rug.

"The sun went down beyond the river. . ." though the sky wasn't wild, nor red. But the river was brimming with lily pads and water birds and I wished we had more time (and a less worn-out little one) so we could get up to the water's edge for a few minutes.

1 comment:

thepalmierifamily said...

My favorite is the picture of Ada with a dirty face and in major spasms from not wanting to be held. It was perfect!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...