Beautifully Bleak, Part I

Bleak: “An area of land lacking vegetation and exposed to the elements.”

Bleak accurately describes the Midwest in the winter. It is gray. Sometimes for days. The fields of corn, wheat, and soy are dead. The wind is relentless. Mountains block a lot of wind and as we have established heretofore there are no mountains here. The snow falls but is not permitted to lay romantically on the trees due to the intensity and consistency of the wind. The temperature is either bitterly cold or fluctuating wildly from day to night. Growing an affection for hats, scarves, and gloves is necessary. Static cling has become a near constant issue. Winter footwear is limited almost exclusively to flats and boots. Attached garages are priceless.

So, I understand how folks, like my friend The Statesman, can say that the Midwest gets all of the weather and none of the pretty. Nevertheless, I am undeterred in my commitment to showing you that it is pretty here, even when it is bleak. I remain positive in the face of the most unpleasant weather that I have experienced.

This is my favorite tree on Route 114. I drive this state road on a regular basis and have watched this tree go from lovely and green to lonely and bare. The tree sits right on the border of a soy field (on the right) and a corn field (on the left). This old fellow is as pretty now in the cold foggy winter as it was in a bright sunny day in July.

I spotted this charming scene near Roanoke, Indiana when I first arrived. I admired its peaceful and simple beauty, the curved lane, the tree-lined stream, and the two bridges. I do not know what is at the end of this lane but I imagine it is something lovely. Something warm, comforting, and old. Maybe an old farmhouse with a barn and silo? The stone bridge in the foreground appears to be hand-laid and weathered by water, wind, and time. But despite the weathering it will last forever because someone made it carefully with their hands. This is the perfect example of flat being pretty.

I shall continue to collect evidence of attractive bleakness to share. It is important for me to remember it is pretty and to prove The Statesman wrong.

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