Tonight I'm posting from a hotel outside of Wichita, Kansas. I'm accompanying my brother as he drives his pick-up to California to start his new job.
As we drove through the Ohio Valley, the conditions were dicey at best. The roads were icy and unpredictable. The temperatures were frigid. Snow was everywhere. Did I mention I was diagnosed with pneumonia a few days ago? Fun!!!
After entering Indiana (well into Indiana), conditions improved considerably. The sun even came out! I forgot that there are people who actually see the sun during the cold months of the winter. I have a friend, Nancy, who not only doesn't mind NOT seeing the sun, she's quite all right with it, thank you very much! So, Nancy notwithstanding, seeing blue skies and bright sunshine in the midst of frigid temperatures was interesting. Maybe part of it was due to the anxiety of driving on icy conditions for several hours.
As we drove through Illinois, the Land of Lincoln (didn't see any Obama stuff yet, but I'm sure they're waiting for his legacy, right?), more snow, but the sunshine continued and the roads stayed nice. Also, David has a CB radio so guess who had fun talking....mm hmm....yeah....
And then we dropped down towards Missouri, the "Show Me State" and we swore revenge on Governor Boggs...to appreciate that statement, you have to know Mormon history....
Finally, over 800 miles later, we landed outside of Wichita in Kansas. Here is the most remarkable discovery I have made thus far. There has been virtually no change in scenery in our drive since leaving Columbus. Flat and fertile farm land, farm animals, occasional stinkiness, barns, fences, silos, some trees, rivers, some bridges, now and then a solitary country road that follows (however briefly) the new-fangled interstate that took away its thunder. I marvel at this scenery. I realize how deeply attached I am to these iconic scenes. I know how deeply engraved the heartland is within me. I think, at this point, it's part of my genetic make-up.
On my mother's side, I am at least a tenth generation Ohioan. That's a lot of generations of farming and love of the land running through my veins. I see it manifested in my sister's ability to coax life out of plants. I, personally, can kill a picture of a plant, but my sister can bring a dry piece of root to abundant life. This doesn't mean I don't resonate with my heartland cell memory.
This trip just sort of brought it to my attention. I've often felt it driving through southern Ohio...but traveling 800 miles through these areas, even the Wabash Valley where my Great Great Grandmother was from, just lit me up. Maybe it's exhaustion, but I'm a happy, heartland, kind of girl tonight. And I'm happy to be that.