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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Central Illinois

My sweet husband was raised in central Illinois, in the same area that was devastated by tornadoes this week.  Central Illinois is farmland at its very best, a patchwork quilt of emerald greens in the spring, and soft gold in early autumn.

Life in this area revolves around farming, around the planting and harvest, and around the prayers for rain-but not too much rain- that go up from the communities that exist because of the farmland.

plain2
It’s not the land that I grew up in, but it is beautiful in it’s own way.
field
There is something amazing to me about the way you can be in one town, and see the other towns on the horizon.  Distance has no real meaning in this flat country- while the towns are miles apart, it seems as though they’re just a few minutes away.
 
minier granery
Dotting the landscape are farms- kept neatly and with a sense of pride that goes beyond a white picket fence and pretty flowers.  

crossroad
The occasional abandoned building, weathered and gray from a hundred years under the sun of central Illinois, stands in stark contrast to the bright greens and vivid blue sky.  This was the school that my husband’s great aunt went to as a small girl, and I’m madly in love with it.

schoolhouse
The vast majority of this land is open field, the few trees being the ones planted in cemeteries, on lawns, along fence lines, and in moist areas where farming isn’t possible.  Funk’s Grove is the exception to the rule- a maple tree grove in the middle of corn country, and it is stunning.  

funksgrove
We’re headed back to Illinois in the very near future, and I know that I’ll find things much the same as the last visit.  My heart is breaking for those who endured such devastation in the tornado outbreak on November 17th- I’m not sure what we’ll see as we drive the long straightaways of Tazewell County, and admittedly I’m a bit nervous.

funksgrove2
What I know for certain is that this beautiful land will recover, and in the spring the patchwork quilt of emerald green will grow again.

For that, I am thankful.