The Middle of Nowhere

I grew up in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t really embarrassed about it at the time because everyone else I knew did too, with a few exceptions.

But when I went away to college in a bigger town, I started meeting people who didn’t know how to drive on a gravel road, people who never had a driveway (ours was at least a quarter mile long), and people whose windows looked directly into their neighbors’ houses. The horror.

Eventually, I gathered that the surroundings of my youth were pretty unusual. Once, on a return visit to my high school with some new college friends, an announcement was made over the loudspeakers that one of the busses (we had fewer than 10, I think) would be running late because there were some cows loose on its route. My friends HOWLED with laughter and I died of embarrassment. They thought they went to a small school…

In college, some of the people I spoke to didn’t have a yard growing up. I, on the other hand never used a push mower until I was well into my 20s because our yard was so big we had to use a riding mower- and it still took a couple hours. (This is not a picture of our yard)

We were a good 20-30 minute drive from most places, but I didn’t mind. I preferred the long drive when I was in my little car- gas was cheap, and I had one of those cassette adapters I could hook my portable CD player up to. I would zip down roads, coast around bends, and sing to the cornfields.

I never truly realize just how much sky there is out there until I go back. It’s humbling and incredibly lovely. The fields are constantly changing from season to season. When you see them every day it’s less obvious, but when you’re away for a time it’s both startling and comforting to mark the progress of these giant chunks of land, just doing what they do. These photos would look very different a month from now.

While I don’t think I would ever move back to the middle of a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, I will always be thankful for how it shaped me and connected me to the changing seasons.

These pictures were all taken earlier this week a couple miles from where I grew up. All of them cropped, but there is not a single filter on them.

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