Humid yet dusty heat flows in through the vents of the car. The only view in sight is the expanse of fields and shelterbelts stretching off into the distance as I speed down the highway. Today is the nicest day I’ve see all summer, the sun is high, the humidity is lower, it is not too warm, and the dust blowing across the road from the field creates a misty golden haze in front of the windshield.
It is far too nice of a day to sit with air conditioning. I roll down the window and let the fresh South Dakota air fill my lungs. As I ride alone, drifting along the highway heading home, a realization hits me. It’s the kind of realization that comes with the solitude of a long drive though green and gold fields. This is the realization that out here is where I belong.
However, where I belong is not in the car but out in the prairies and fields of the Midwest. I belong in the gently rolling hills. It is the lush green fields, renewed and refreshed from the rain several days earlier, which spread for miles that calm and placate me. It is the sight of birds spreading their wings and soaring overhead that fills me with wonder. The sight of a doe and her young running with all speed and showing their grace and beauty that brings to me a feeling of freedom that is strangely emulated through their joyous display.
These roads are long and lonely yet somehow present a sense of hope and freedom. It is as though there is no care or worry in such an open place. On a long drive such as this there is only joy, and thought, and openness, and the promise that as long as the people who own this land take care of it these back roads and highways will remain to me, and hopefully for many others, a place of freedom and beauty.