Letting the Land Work on You

Well, it’s been an interesting weekend. Most importantly, I went out to Bells Bend with the dog and walked around. It’s still surprising to me that this is a real place and I get to live here. The especially cool thing about going out there this time of year is that the river is visible, because few things have leaves at the moment.

I kind of feel like I should say something about the mess going on in the comments. The truth is that I don’t really know what to say about it. I appreciate everyone’s concern, though.

bells bend 4 bells bend 1 bells bend 2 bells bend 3

7 thoughts on “Letting the Land Work on You

  1. It’s good to see these pictures of the landscape. Thank you. Ordinary, daily type views, not beauty shots, can take me back to the feeling of those hills and those green rivers and that land. Even the sky is different here.

    I have nothing I feel like I can say about the other, either, but I’m thinking of you.

  2. The sky is so different. I was thinking about that this weekend, how, even when I’m standing there in a big open field, the sky isn’t so big.

    But in Illinois, it feels, often, like you’re standing on the very edge of the world, that there’s nothing between you and an infinite universe.

  3. Yes! Exactly! And one of the worst things, for me, is when I’m driving on our two-lane back roads, and I go between two huge, empty, completely snow-covered fields. No trees, no hills, no houses, no shadows, no cover anywhere. It activates some primal, nowhere to hide feeling.

    But, that’s why we’ve got so many hawks and eagles, I guess. And I like watching them (for want of crows).

  4. You see, too, then why I have such a hard time with “rural” down here. “Rural” down here just means you don’t live in town. “Rural” up there means that kind of emptiness.

    The eagles are a recent return. My aunt and uncle remember seeing the first bald eagle to return to Illinois and they both at first thought it was a garbage bag, because they just couldn’t wrap their heads around what they were seeing.

  5. Damn, I do see that. Never thought about it, but you’re completely right. The distances between things up here are so starkly big and isolating, in a very different way than woods and geography can be isolating. Not that southern towns/cities don’t sprawl, but the vast, screaming acres of NOTHINGNESS don’t exist the same way. It’s almost pure Lovecraft, in the howling waste/void sense, in a winter storm.

    I just finished Marilynne Robinson’s latest book, Lila. It was slow going in places , but I plowed ahead partly because of gems like this passing idea about, in fact, rural illinois: roughly, “she had never thought about how much of the world was cornfields”. I loved Gilead and Home, so I wanted to love it and I don’t, quite, but there were some lovely moments.

  6. That’s such an interesting commentary on that part of Illinois, you two. I know that, growing up in St. Louis, our impression of the area from driving through is that it was the most boring landscape in the world. Thanks for the view from the inhabitants.

  7. “especially cool thing about going out there this time of year is that the river is visible, because few things have leaves at the moment.”

    That is why I prefer winter hikes, I can see the contours of the land, the rocks, the creeks. Plus no ticks, skeeters or snakes.

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