by Cassia Reynolds
I have a special place in my heart for the highways of the American Midwest, yellow dotted lines on straight, wide strips of black speckled asphalt. It’s a timeless love for the scenery: a big, empty sky over endless, flat, green farmscapes. Maybe aesthetically I’m a minimalist; there’s just something mesmerizingly simple about all that open space. I can stare out the window for hours, getting thrills from the sparse huddles of cylindrical granaries that rise above the cornfields or the single hilltop adorned with a quaint, red-painted barn, breaking up the monotony.
And maybe that’s it; the terrain is so boring that I begin to appreciate the beauty of the small things that I see.
Whatever it is, I’m drawn to the quiet charm of this place. To the trees: pines, oaks, firs, spruces, and maples. To the neighborhoods with brick houses and freshly-cut front lawns and barefoot kids running through the grass. To the busy parking lots of the shopping malls with their perfect, infinite rows of soccer mom minivans and SUVs and shiny paint jobs that glint under the sun. To the temperate climate, with its four distinct seasons that perfectly balance a brutally cold winter with a swampy-hot summer. To the parks and lakes and fields and green, green, green everywhere and everything.
It’s what I imagine as definitively American in a land that’s so large and compartmentalized and spread out that it feels like five countries in one sometimes.
It’s a quiet, flat place, with not a lot happening.