Straw­berry Moon

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?

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