Hours pass and still the rolling patchwork fields of green rest under the bluest sky. A spilled container of marshmallow clouds are scattered and hang as beyond what my eyes can see. As the minutes tick away, tree lines are page breaks in the endless corn that stands tall slightly golden in the August sun. My eyes catch silos and delight in grand old barns. There is something so incredibly disorienting about this space. The fields go on and on like markers on a map constantly announcing how we’re deep into uncharted land. I’m certain change has never been so startling.
Fences run along the interstate that once sliced through farmland in the name of progress. Queen Anne’s Lace, Black-Eyed Susan's and a delicate purple flower adorn the roadside. The occasional cluster of bursting green trees on the edge of the fields stand boldly against the squares of sameness. I’m reminded of the thin, spiny trees that grow with their roots exposed along the jagged cliffs of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Eastern Redbud with its pale lavender blossoms that softly hang in juxtaposition to the dark shadowy lines of rigid rock.
The trees on the edge express a language that I understand the most. I welcome their presence in this season, like a dear friend standing in solidarity. I feel the vulnerability of the winds that sweep across the vastness and the rattling that reaches so deep. I feel known.
As we drove all around Kansas City this past weekend, my eyes caught sight of a bedroll and backpack high in an underpass of the busy interstate. I’ve seen it before, countless times, especially in Los Angeles, but that green sleeping bag is still vivid in my mind. And as we drove away, I lingered in the stark air of displacement. Place is such a powerful character in our story. It’s been three weeks and I haven’t a clue where I really am. I can tell you the zip code. I know that if you take two simple turns out of the neighborhood, town is just down the road, but I’m lost somewhere in this setting of fields and farms under the great open sky.
I picture a farmer gazing out at his land, a plot of earth so familiar. Knowing where the sun will burst forth each morning and the silhouette of the trees that it will illuminate. Aware of how all the living things tilt when the winds blow from the west or the habits of a summer storm. His eyes detect when the fields reach the perfect hue of harvest. His connection to the land so sacred and true. In this great world, he has found his place. And where he finds belonging, I feel an expanse of uncertainty and bewilderment.
Far from the edge, where the sea roars and greets my wild. Distant from the rising and majestic mountains that reach high to heaven. The sky feels bigger here exposing every hope and fear. The winds sweep over the land demanding surrender. I cannot stand in this place unaffected. It’s terrifying out here in the open.
And I’m ready to consider that the home I seek cannot be found.
To be continued…