The beauty of a sunset drive made the heartland feel like home.
hen I thought of the countryside in Illinois and Iowa, “exciting” and “stunning” weren’t the first words to pop into my mind. I’d never viewed these landscapes as particularly aweinspiring, and I had been traveling here for 20 years.
Yet when I once drove from the airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to my grandma’s house in Savanna, Illinois, I found undeniable beauty in the lush green rolling hills, the white picket fences, the red barns and the acres of cornfields.
There’s something peaceful and comfortable about rural America. With only a few farmhouses, some livestock and a lone paved road cutting through the fields, it feels like time doesn’t really exist here.
Rising to the top of one gentle hill, I could see for miles across
Wgradual slopes and valleys: the neat square quilting of the planted fields with an occasional farmhouse or silo, vines creeping up its weathered sides. The sun was setting slowly, bathing the scene in soft pinks and peaches. It hit the water misting from irrigation lines over the green soy fields, turning each droplet into a gem that glittered, suspended, before falling.
The sun fell below the horizon, and the world was swathed in dark. Fireflies appeared as bright stars against an inky sky. They flickered along the roadside and glistened over the silent corn.
Fireflies may not seem special, but we don’t have them where I grew up in the Rocky Mountains. I paused, childlike, in anticipation, searching the dark to guess where they’d light up next to surprise the world with their glow. Fireflies are everyday magic, a tiny part of life that brings you to the edge of your seat if you’re watching closely.
Tearing myself away from the fireflies, I noticed the moon rising to take the sun’s post, a sentinel in the night. This moon was different. It was round, full and orange-pink, a giant perched above the dark silhouettes of barns.
They called it a strawberry moon, and something about that name seemed so harmonious and right to me. Nestled in the sky above farms and fields, the moon became another yummy fruit ripe for the picking, its craters seeds in a tempting pink surface.
I liked the idea of a moon being a strawberry. The sweetness of the thought stayed with me, refreshing and perfect.
How could a moon hanging above farmland and surrounded by glittering fireflies be anything but a strawberry moon?