I love this place.
I've heard people talk about how the land becomes a part of you, but I never understood what that meant. I've lived in many places and some I've liked more than others, but I've never felt a physical connection to any of those places, until now.
The seasons define the land here and all of its attributes. It can be both beautiful and stark, gentle and rough, colorful and plain. In the winter the colors are muted and mostly shades of brown. The contours of the land are visible - rolling fields stretching for miles into the distance, stopped only by the straight line of the horizon. Driving on an overcast morning, you can sometimes be startled by the sun breaking through the clouds and shining brightly on a red barn and white outbuildings in the distance. It's as if God is blessing the farmer, assuring him that the warm days of spring are just ahead.
Summer brings farm fields awash in color - the vibrant bright green of the corn stalks, robin's-egg blue skies and the billowing white clouds signaling the impending birth of a thunderstorm. The ups and downs of the hills are shielded from view by the lush crops.
I travel the rural roads and see lonely cemeteries and their tombstones standing above the graves of generations of people who came to this place and made it their home. I think about these people and their lives filled with hard work, heartache and loneliness. Many left their families behind, crossing the ocean, to come to these small towns in search of a better life. Many prospered here, leaving the land to their children so that the work could continue. Some failed and their abandoned homes are their legacy.
How can I not love this place? It is a place where hard work and honest hearts prevail. It's my home and it has welcomed me as its own.