Monday, June 13, 2016

Appreciating Iowa

It is always good to start a Monday morning with a lot of praise to God who is the Creator of all things. We had the chance to view acres of Iowa landscape this weekend as we spent many hours on the road, traveling to sheep shows. Iowa is so much more than cornfields.

Iowa is a redwing blackbird perched on a clump of wildflowers in the ditch; golden dots of rolled hay bales scattered across a hay field; well-stocked farm ponds carefully placed between the slopes of rolling land; pastures of grazing horses and cattle that appear in the shadow of the generous grove of majestic oak trees; light poles dotted by red and white-tailed hawks, and creeks and rivers dancing through the valleys. The sight of a blooming catalpa tree reminds me of the farm where I grew up. I long to breath in its fragrance once again. Patches of deep green corn leaves paint the landscape between fence posts. The Iowa view changes from the rich flat lands of Central Iowa to the gently rolling hills of Southern Iowa.

The scenery south of Des Moines was a perfect canvas as the early morning sun spotlighted spring's crop of deer, now in their rich red coats that set off their bright white tails. A group of four youngsters were gathered in the corner of a field contemplating which direction to jump. A few miles more and I spotted a mother and baby posing serenely on a hillside, with their rusty coats highlighted by the bright rays of dawn. Alas, another doe stood ready to prance across a corn field with her twin babies. Moments of delight for the eyes.

Man's architectural additions to the countryside provide interest too. A few surviving windmills remain to mark old farmsteads and fresh red paint dots the landscape with its bold and beautiful accents. I wonder at the sights of remarkable windbreaks, testifying of the labor-intensive agricultural life. Iowa has a true beauty that is all its own. Even the impressive skylines of Iowa's cities, and the colloquial villages that dot the landscape, offer definitions of who we are and what we do in Iowa.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom" (Isaiah 40:28 NIV).

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