When I was 14 I went on a cross-country bus tour that my dad organized from Cedar City, Utah to New York City and back. To a fourteen-year-old those were long travel days across Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. I had three or four friends on the trip and we could hardly wait to get to our hotel so we could go swimming. Then we'd stay up late and "faint" -- something my friends taught me that seemed really new and exciting. The drive the next day seemed like nothing but corn field after corn field, and mostly I just wanted to sleep. My mother would repeatedly say, "Judy, wake up and enjoy this beautiful scenery!" It seemed boring to me.
After living 35 years in Illinois I have come to believe that this state may very well have the most beautiful farms in the world. I've made oh, so many trips to Nauvoo, to Champaign, to Utah, and to Columbus, and no matter which direction we drive, I can never get enough of the scenery. Picture this: acre after acre of corn or soy bean fields. I love them in the early spring when the ground is newly plowed -- the rows and rows of turned earth, perfectly straight as far as the eye can see. I love them when the ground very first begins to turn green. I love them in the summer when the corn is high and the tassles blow in the wind. I love them in the fall when the heavy machinery is working the fields. I love it in the winter when the fields are covered with stubble, the machinery is all put away, and the farm is prepared for winter.
As we drove to Champaign for Quinn's graduation we realized that it was probably the last time we would ever make that drive. It was so sad. If we ever leave Illinois we will really miss this incredible scenery.