In the fall and winter each year, after the corn and soybeans have been harvested, the land around our home takes on a pale grey tone that lasts for months. This is the best time of the year to see the lay of the land. The draws and cuts and stands of smaller brush are easier to see. Still, it can be a hard time folks who love the colors of spring and summer in the Midwest.
When the time is right, the tractors come out of their winter homes and begin to break up the ground and till under what might have been left from the previous growing season. And, come about spring, the green shades start developing in the fields -- very light at first, then becoming deeper and richer. The corn doesn't have to be very tall -- mere inches in fact - in order for one to make out where the rows fall. And those evenly spaced lines of green against the dark rich soil seem to go on and on.
When the corn is at its fullest leaf and highest height, the land becomes a virtual forest of deep green stalks and yellow tassels. The roads that run through the countryside seem to be hemmed in by giant walls of green. At night, if you listen closely, you can hear the long dark green leaves sawing against each other in a magical symphony. If you listen even closer, you might even hear the corn growing. At least that what's they say.
When the wind blows -- which it does a lot out on the hill at Union -- the bean fields close by move in not-too-silent waves of blue-green, like a sprawling ocean reflecting hints of sunshine as they sway to and fro. And when the farmer across the way mows the small patch of alfalfa he raises for his cattle, the fabulous aroma is practically breathtaking.
Along the creek, trees reach toward the sky unmolested while providing seclusion and shelter for the wild things that live hereabouts: coyote, white tailed deer, hoot owls, doves, otters, and raccoons and the like.
Yep ... It's pretty peaceful out on the hill. The setting is a good portrayal of the image many have of the heartland, with its white-steepled church building rising out of fields of corn and soybeans and alfalfa. It's a scene repeated over and over again throughout this "bread basket" of our nation.
Now August is upon us, and before you know it the corn will be ready for harvest. Soon after, the fields will be home to partial corn stalks and shredded bean stalks scattered about on the way to becoming pale grey once more. It will be that way until the snow and ice cover the stubble. When the winter ends, the cycle will begin again.
For now, let the corn be our palisades reaching to the heavens; let the bean fields be giant green landlocked oceans; and let the trees stand strong and tall against the hazy blue of the summer sky.