A Storyby Huntley Gibson Paton
Have you seen the green fortress walls of corn in central Iowa in August? They are disturbing.
“Beautiful,” our daughter Kristina says, gazing out the car window. No.
So many of us who live in the West—and by this, I mean anywhere the air is reasonably dry, but for me specifically, Huntington Beach—have a history of blood here, in the Humidity Belt. Our past generations passed through this territory, putting down roots before watching their children (our grandparents or great-grandparents) move on.
Our transient bloodlines, those invisible chains to lives long since finished, make us recognize places we’ve never been before. My wife Moselle is not religious, God knows, but she went to Israel one summer and came back more than slightly affected, taking on a grumpiness and detachment for more than a month. She felt some mystery there but never shared it with me. She the Jew, I the Christian: What could she share that I would understand?
Now it’s my turn; our Nissan Sentra, rented from the Des Moines airport, takes us up the highway in the direction of Ames, past fields of corn so tall I think, at first, they are fake. The crops possess the rolling prairie in every direction, except where the advancing harvest litters the ground with brown stalks left to rot. Family history tells me I have some Iowan in me, but who wants it? I am a man content with my view of the ocean and two belts of single malt each day.