Today, I took a mental-health drive with my Aussie, Avy, to clear my crisis-induced shock, my mind. But as I drove, tears welled and I was reminded that driving is medicine to release tears. Driving while crying is never a good idea. Kinda like driving intoxicated. Blurred vision impairs awareness, driving requires attention. I drove regardless. The excuse for the drive to deliver Biden signs to friends—a distraction from the past week.
We drove with windows down upon backroads populated with intermittent houses dispersed between farm land, rows of drying corn and soybeans, all tinged yellow, waving in the wind. And as we drove north of Ames on George Washington Carver, heading north to Gilbert, we looked for a friend of a friends’ farm, which the friend has converted to prairie. But before we found the farm, I saw a sign for 37 Acres for Sale, and turned west off George Washington Carver to seek it out. Avy and I never found the 37 acres, but discovered instead a gravel road heading west on undulating hills, the road bookended by trees, and meandering creeks—an anomaly of acreages surrounded by flatlands of corn and soybean crops, north, south, east and west.
I’ve been dreaming of purchasing property outside the city-limits of Ames. Farmland to convert to prairie. The friend-of-a-friend owns a flat-land farm devoid of trees. They hope to sell their leased land to someone with the same dream of converting farm to prairie.
Iowa is one of the most altered landscapes in America. Once home to tall-grass prairie, homesteaders plowed the rich nutritious grasses under, laid tiles to drain the clay-like soil, and planted corn. In recent years, farmers and corporate farms have planted to property lines, fertilizing till no insects survive, polluting water, landscape devoid of birds. I am not a farmer, hail from cities with tall and squat buildings. But moving to Iowa from San Francisco five years ago, has caused me to listen to the pull of land. And my dream of owning land includes planting and cultivating prairie, amidst rolling hills, some trees, waving grasses rustling in the wind, birds chirping, a symphony of crickets, and stars shining above at night.