The poetry of the fields

Rising road, © 2013 Celia Her CityDuring my summer travels, I had occasion to drive through Iowa, whose fields are full of simple beauty.  By now its crops are probably used up and dry.  Some have been harvested.  Their full-on summer loveliness, though, was something to see.

Cleft, © 2013 Celia Her CityIowa farm fields are surprisingly different from those of Illinois.  Across the Mississippi, the terrain changes notably.  The land is more rolling, and there are differences in the way the fields are cultivated.  Often there are mown patches in the middle of the fields, creating dramatic gashes and clefts in the scenery.

A swath of grass between fields.I have read that the terrain of Illinois used to be similarly rolling but was leveled in the interest of efficient monoculture.

When I was a child, I used often to see red fields of sorghum when we were traveling.  Now, however, there is very little sorghum.  The Midwest is planted almost entirely with either corn or beans.

A landscape worthy of Georgia O'KeeffeFrom an aesthetic point of view, it’s hard to complain, because bean fields, as they turn color, are often stunning.  The plants slowly turn from dark to lime green, then to bright yellow, before fading to brown.

Chartreuse (Iowa bean field), © 2013 Celia Her CityI saw bean fields nearly the color of gold that day.  Soybeans more like poetry you’ve never seen.

Trees growing in the seam of a gully between the fields.The tassels of the drying corn were a dull buff-orange.  The corn furrows were still visible, even now when the plants were towering.

Rain seen (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her CityThere were textures that dead painters, like Constable or Breugel, might have enjoyed.

Overall (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her CityThe colors were dazzling under a lead-blue sky.

Iowa under a cloud, © 2013 Celia Her CityFor, yes, we were traveling under a cloud, the thunderheads giving their drama to me.

Sea green (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her CityIowa, like Texas, is a ‘big-sky’ state.  A traveler can’t help but notice the heavens in a landscape as open and simple as this.

Technicolor (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her CityThrow in a red barn and behold a tableau of rural glory, . . .

Violet sky (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her Citya land that’s prosperous and orderly.

Spruce (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her CityTwo cows and a tree make a crowd in these parts.

A crowd (Iowa), © 2013 Celia Her City


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