Seriously. Get lost. I don’t mean that as an insult or a request to be left alone. I mean that in the most literal sense that I could.
I had the wonderful chance to bury myself in the sights of rural Illinois. I was driving back from a meeting down in Bloomington on Thursday. Driving through Dwight, I decided to meander around some backroads to see how bad the town was still torn up from the tornado that went through last weekend.
I saw some damage, but wasn’t able to find the area that got hit the worst. My heart goes out to the folks in Dwight and Streator, and maybe it’s best I didn’t find what I was looking for. I’m sure I would have ended up fairly upset.
In my wonderings, though, I ended up north-east of Dwight. I figured that, to the best of my knowledge, if I headed south and east, I’d find the road I’d originally been on. It’s not all that hard to get around in the Illinois country. (Of course, when my farmboy found out that I was “lost,” he was a nervous wreck. He called me every five minutes to see if I’d gotten back to route 1-17 yet.)
As unpleasant as it was for Tim, I enjoyed myself. It was an impromptu crop-scouting trip. (The wheat fields west of here are starting to get that golden tinge to them. Other than a few wet spots and wind-damaged areas, most of the corn had a rich green color. Beans are still young.) It was a chance to admire the world I grew up in. I spent part of the time on the phone with a friend, and he said, “I bet you’re probably just driving through corn and bean fields.” Well, yeah, I was, but there was so much more to see than that.
Barns, windmills, houses, woods, ponds, waterways. They’re all a part of the rural landscape that make it beautiful. Each mile is unique. I’m sure that most people don’t understand this sentiment, but as I took the scenic route back to 1-17, I felt blessed. Have you ever just watched the way young corn plants move in the breeze? Or the way wheat seems to ripple like water?
This was especially well-timed, because earlier this week I moved out of my dorm room and back home for the summer. This unlikely situation allowed me to fully soak up the beauty of the landscape, of my native rural area, unlike I would have otherwise. I did eventually get back to the state highway I’d been on. I got home in one piece. (I’m sure Tim didn’t think I’d get back alright, though.) And when I pulled into my driveway later that evening, after stopping by the farmhouse for a while, I was amazed by the amazing sunset that lit up my backyard.
There isn’t much of a lesson here. There isn’t some deep moral. It’s just a show of appreciation. I live in a beautiful place. Illinois has simple, wonderful, inspiring sights tucked away in the protected pockets of its countryside. So, I think everyone needs to take a little time to get lost. You might end up really appreciating it.