Cycling slowly, breathing in the warm evening air, I relish the sights and sounds of my sleepy corner of the world. A village of 1400, we barely register on the map. We’re not famous or glamorous or trend-setting. In the scope of this great big world, we’re pretty much forgotten. We don’t matter much to most people. But for those of us fortunate enough to call this Midwestern town home, it’s the only place we want to be.
Amanda’s mowing the lawn as her 85 year-old grandma sits and enjoys the flower show taking place in her garden. We smile and exchange greetings as the familiar aroma of fresh-mown grass rises up to meet me. The game is on at Bob and Marcia’s; you can catch the score on the big-screen if you ride slowly enough. Judy’s walking home from the church after practicing for Sunday’s service. She waves and calls a hearty “hello”. Known for her caring heart, warm smile and brisk walk, seeing her brings me joy. Barefoot kids with chalk-covered hands, draw temporary murals on the sidewalk in front of my in-laws old house.
The town cop cruises the streets, windows down on this gorgeous night. I don’t know what kinds of calls he gets or how busy he is, but I’m glad he’s here, so we can enjoy flawless nights like this.
Still busy, even at 8 pm, the elevator is bustling and the smell of diesel fuel and grain mingles and swirls around as I bump over the train tracks on my old bike. As I glance to the left, I can see a train, far away, slowly puffing it’s way to my town.
On the west edge of town, the lush fields burst with life. Meandering westward, Horseshoe creek divides the bean and corn crop. The slow sunset serves as a backdrop and a soothing calmness falls over my oft’ times weary heart. The mere landscape here speaks peace.
As I pedal back into neighborhoods, I meet a family out for an evening bike ride. The kids, blocks ahead of the parents, finally stop on the corner to wait. I pass lovingly tended gardens, welcoming front porches, and people out soaking in the beautiful summer night just like me. My dear friend’s house bursts with color and her love for blooms is as obvious as the fact that she’s a busy young mom of three. Riding on sometimes bumpy streets under a canopy of trees, it’s like being on a covered bridge. Speckles of sunlight dapple the road and I lazily make my way home.
I see the smoke and smell the charcoal. The neighbor is grilling; steaks, I think. As I come around the corner, I see Brad spraying the weeds and the boys kicking around the soccer ball. Hannah joins and I’m treated to a fleeting vision of familial bliss.
The wind’s picking up and the clouds build in the west. Storms may come tonight. But now, right at this moment,the beauty and safety of this no-where place permeates my soul and speaks peace.