Friday, August 19, 2011
Straight. You can almost draw a straight line with a ruler from Wheeling, WV to Tuscola, IL where my brother, Nick, lives. Wednesday I hopped on I70, which runs just a few hundred feet from my apartment, and headed 418 miles west to Tuscola to see Nick and his wife, Sandi.
This Midwest girl forgot the power of the straight highway with fields of mature crops on either side of the road. After Indianapolis, I exited to Rt. 36 which heads very efficiently into Tuscola - about 100 miles. As I left suburban Indy, the towns become further and further apart. Curves were anomalies. And it was so very flat. Ahhhh.
After 10 years of living near the Adirondack, Catskill, White, and Berkshire mountains and 7 years of living in mountainous West Virginia, the vast open prairie was freeing. When the fields were soy or pasture, I could see for miles in all directions. Roads laid out in their familiar grid pattern. Trees and barns dotting the horizon.
Rt. 36 provided me with thinking time - God, aging, dementia, life-style changes, new adventures, kids, husbands, brothers, chaplaincy. The vastness of the prairie allowed me the elbow room to explore all the junk I was carrying around in my head. Sorting. Stacking. Purging. And in the places where tall corn with golden tassels stretched for miles on either side of me, I remembered the phrase from scripture, "you hem me in." The juxtaposition of open prairie and close fields felt good. The uniform height of the corn were like carefully tended hedges - the soy beans like green carpet. Open and snug. Close and far.
Midwest Flat proved to be good meditating ground. I arrived at my destination witht no answers to my questions and concerns, but the Advocate and I had a good long chat down that very straight road.