The rhythms that sustain me are fundamental elements that I learned in small towns. The rumble of semi-trucks full of harvested grain is joined by the whir of combines.

Is it possible to write a composition that truly captures the spirit of Midwestern culture? Aaron Copeland tried it. I played his pieces in orchestra and concert band, but they seemed a bit too fanciful. My experience was deep: richly illustrated by the tilling arm turning over a spent crop and finding a universe of life below the surface. A drive “home” uncovers the deepest parts of me as well. It feels like a choir’s communion songs to watch the twelve-foot high cornstalks try to touch the low clouds and join in the dance of the barn swallows. It feels like a confession to step toward the roadside stand and see the harvest ready to be taken home. Read the sign: “self-serve, honor system.” It feels like faith to hear the sweet corn rustle on the passenger seat as the gravel slips away. Just another visit home? They never are.
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