First of all, if you don’t know it yet, my first book in the Bellingwood series (All Roads Lead Home) is FREE on the Kindle today. You should get it while it’s hot (or free).
It’s a fun read and the beginning of a series of books about a wonderful rural community in central Iowa. It could be a rural community anywhere in the Midwest. The people are normal. Some are a little wacky, most are kind and generous and before you know it, you’ve fallen in love with them and want to live where they live. The thing is? I know most of these people and they are already living where you live. In fact, most of them are you!
I ran into my own little nearby community to mail a couple of things today and remembered to take my camera. As I was driving around town, it occurred to me that every small community is practically identical, but at the same time, each has unique and wonderful attributes that make them home to their residents. Such glorious places to live!
As I drove in, though, I was struck by the beauty of a completed harvest in Iowa. Fields as far as the eye could see, deep black dirt turned up by farmers in preparation for winter and next spring’s planting.
When the early settlers first began farming in America, they raped the land. One of the reasons farms were so immense was that when a farmer destroyed his land, he simply bought more until there was no more around. These days, everything is different. Farmers are amazing stewards of the land they work. They don’t just think about the profit for today, but they look to the future when their children and their children’s children will continue to farm this land. Everything they do to preserve its health and integrity is a sign of that stewardship. Since 1976, when the program began, over 15,000 families in Iowa have been recognized as having Century farms (over 100 years). That’s amazing!
I always took black dirt in the fields for granted, until we had someone from out-of-state in the car with us one day and they couldn’t believe their eyes. They’d never seen such richness in the soil. Today, I don’t take that for granted. It is a glorious sight and one I’m proud to see every day I drive in the country.
When I was young, I remember telling Mom there were two men I would never marry: a preacher and a farmer. My reasoning revolved around the fact that I didn’t see that either of them had much fun. Dad was always busy with people and our lives were pretty exposed to the world. I didn’t want that for the rest of my life. As for farmer’s wives? Wow, did they have to work hard. I certainly didn’t think that would be a great way to live. Not a lot of fun, an awful lot of work.
It’s funny, I still don’t think I’d ever have been happy as a preacher’s wife … or a preacher, for that matter. Church people can be a hard lot to get along with and I’m not terribly tolerant of the shenanigans they pull in the name of Jesus. Someone would have kicked me out early on in the whole process. I’m still not sure I would have wanted to work as hard as is necessary on a farm, but I do love rural Iowa (Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota … wherever you might live).
There is nothing more peaceful than the quiet that comes from miles and miles of unpopulated land. While I was driving, I could stop to take pictures and not once was there a vehicle that passed me or came up behind me, expecting me to get moving. So, I could take pictures like these and come home and still find quiet. Leaves turn color and fall from their trees, crops are harvested, everything around reminds us that fall is here and winter is coming. It’s a beautiful time of the year.