Friday, January 06, 2006

Southern Illinois Panorama

Southern Illinois farmland; my father's home. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"I swing to the sunset land -
The world of prairie, the world of plain,
The world of promise and hope and gain,
The world of gold, and the world of grain,
And the world of the willing hand.
~ Emily Pauline Johnson (1861 - 1914)
This is the rich farmland of Southern Illinois; the land farmed by my first cousins, my uncles and my grandfather before them. This is the land where my dad grew and worked as a boy, walking to the one roomed schoolhouse two miles from the homestead. This is the land so flat you can see the billowing spring storm clouds on the horizon miles away; and watch as the thin twisting spindle of a tornado winds its way down from the clouds to touch the earth, kicking up the soil in a ground cloud of dust. This is the land where my great-grandfather built his strong farmhouse; the small rise where it sat seems like a mountain in this landscape with the winding road leading past the pine grove where we cousins played cowboys, past the barn where Grandpa and I dug the water softened earth for nightcrawlers and past the chicken coop where Grandma and I gathered the daily eggs. Only the chicken coop remains and the smokehouse where I read for hours; a new farmhouse and barn have been built along with a machine shop and woodworking shop. The memories are still there in the wind as it whistles through the winter fields, in the old fishing pond still hiding the snapping turtles and old catfish and in the strength of my cousins hands as they plow the fields and harvest the corn, soybeans and wheat. It is the one place where I can stand at the edge of this field and truly say, "I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles."

Submission for Photo Friday topic "panorama". (end of post)

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