Friday, May 23, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Heidi has a post up about her love for Kansas. It makes my heart ache. I miss the Midwest! And she's right, the beauty there is very different than the beauty elsewhere. Here in the Pacific Northwest, which is known for its natural beauty, we have stunning views of majestic mountains, open water, islands, and magnificent forests. Even the cityscapes are attractive. It seems that our early city planners and builders took great care in incorporating urban development into the idyllic natural setting. (They did not take such great care in planning traffic flow through and around those urban developments, but hey...you win some, you lose some.) It's beautiful here.


But the Midwest...oh, I just miss it. So calm and peaceful, so untouched compared to our country's coastlines. I think my favorite part of Heidi's pictures is the gravel road (or driveway). It brought back so many memories - trivial memories, really, just nostalgia, but somehow still so powerful. I remember that we had to drive with the windows up over gravel roads on dry days, because the dust was too overwhelming to drive with the windows down. And if we encountered another car approaching a bridge on a gravel road, we had to pull over, because only one car could cross at a time. And drivers waved to other drivers on gravel roads, no matter whether they knew each other. Paved country roads were called blacktops, to differentiate them from the gravel roads. I lived on the Thompsonville blacktop.


We grew tomatoes and corn fit for kings. We took wild roses and blackberries for granted. We breathed thick honeysuckle air all summer long (and now I find honeysuckle-scented products in bath product stores! Who knew anyone would try to bottle it?). We heard bullfrogs and crickets and owls all night. We tried to get the mockingbirds to imitate our own calls, unsuccessfully of course. And I didn't think about any of these things until I had left them behind.

Am I romanticizing life in the Midwest? Of course. It's where I grew up. It's a very nostalgic place for me. It is full of memories of the simplicity of childhood, of not having a schedule, of having few responsibilities and worries. Most people, I think, look back on their childhoods in this way. I just happened to leave the Midwest right before I left childhood, so my yearning for the one is muddled by nostalgia for the other. But I still miss it.

Thanks, Heidi, for the memories!

2 comments:

christindall said...

Geez - _I_ miss it, just from your description.... *sigh* :)

Linda said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I miss IL too. We used to run around in the woods all summer long. We used to catch tadpoles in the creek and keep them in coke bottles. LOL I think about it now and realize how not good that was, but at the time it was fun. Our neighbors had a thick honeysuckle hedge and we used to go and cut the flowers from it so we could smell them all day.