There is something frank and joyous and young in the open face of the country. It gives itself ungrudgingly to the moods of the season, holding nothing back. Like the plains of Lombardy, it seems to rise a little to meet the sun. The air and the earth are curiously mated and intermingled, as if the one were the breath of the other. You feel in the atmosphere the same tonic, puissant quality that is in the tilth, the same strength and resoluteness. – Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
I see great beauty in the area in which I grew up. It is flat for miles and miles, a leveled valley surrounded by end morraine. The sunsets are unrivaled. The air is clear. The seasons are marked by farming. In autumn, we expected the roads to be covered with giant clods of dirt. We kept careful watch for beet trucks pulling out of fields at all hours of the night. Farm kids would miss several weeks of school due to harvest. In winter, when the wind wasn’t howling (which was almost always…it gets a 300-mile running start across North Dakota, you know), it often felt as if you were stepping out into a blank sheet of paper, the impossibly white ground fading right into the impossibly white sky, with no trees or mountains in between to give hint of a horizon.
Husband had no appreciation whatsoever for this kind of beauty. He grew up around hills, swamps and trees, and to him, that is what is beautiful. Mountains and lakes are great, too. But flat plains? No way.
Me, I still get homesick when we drive up there. The open fields, the shelter belts, the modest homes cause my breath to catch in my throat.