I leave early this morning, needing the time to drop off a load of brush trimmed from the fringe of the yard, a pruning of growth indifferent to the needs around it and perhaps needing some pruning of my own. It is very easy in this life, in this place, in this age to be consumed with my own needs, my own plans, my own desires. It is easy now, yes, but it has been easy in every age. Whether in blessing or in affliction, the body human has always tended first to its own concerns.
I push away, at least from the forefront of my mind, a few of those concerns. Even under the low dullness of this early sky, I notice the lie and run of these gentle hills of northeastern Kansas. A light mist hangs above the layered hills, ripples of darker blue showing in the distance. Soybeans splotch the beginnings of autumn color, yellowing in the midst of lush greens. I imagine the hand of God, sweeping across the fields, feeling the gentle nap of corn and beans, taking measure and pleasure, like a father’s hand resting on the head of the child he loves.
Just off 36, Highway 7 takes a sweeping turn and the pavement narrows. Sumac is already into its autumn sheens of orange and red. Tiny leaves of locust brown the tips of upper branches while native grasses edge into their own soft colors. Just east of Fanning, the road takes the slope down into the Wolf River bottoms. Beyond the flat of the river, it will slope upward again, but for now, I take this easy plain, these flat fields, this full view of quiet morning and thin mist forming above the river.