Thursday, June 19, 2008

The View From Here . . .

I've been asked more than once, and since I've been out and about recently, taking photos of the surrounding countryside, I thought I would share a little bit of what it's like in Maggie's part of the world. And since Maggie shares my world, it shouldn't be too hard.

My home is not grand. It's a 140-year-old Victorian farmhouse that rests on a quiet street in a small town in NE Indiana, complete with wraparound porch and matching bay windows that would make lovely window seats if heating registers didn't negate that possibility. :) It was built at a time when things were made solid and made right {for the most part, heh}. Over the years, things have settled here and there--few rooms are square, floors creak and aren't what anyone would call level--but it has seen a lot in its time, and there is a sense of that. It's a work-in-process, never completed--something is always needing fixed, or fixed-up, or torn out and completely done-over--but it's stately in an everyday-familiar sort of way, and it has a grace and serenity that speaks of having seen many days, many families, many lifelines, and much love, and that appeals to me.
Indiana in the summer is lush and green and beautiful in a way that makes me feel alive and very much a part of the inner workings of the world. I mirror this, as many do on a subconscious level, with my love of hearth and home, with my love of neat and orderly vegetable gardens and wildly chaotic flower beds, clipped lawns, and overgrown trees. I love the Midwest. I love the way that the world progresses all around us, and while it does reach us here, we retain a bit of the old ways, kept sacred by a few of us who remember. I love the circular path of the seasons, and the way that no matter how many years and seasons pass, there is always an air of newness to each one, as though it was the first we've ever witnessed. I love the sound of the wind in the trees, the way the sun looks mid-morning as it glints through tree leaves, and the golden glow of it as it begins its descent in quiet evening hours. I love the rain--wild, at times, and at others, as gentle as a mother's kiss. I love the smell of freshly clipped grass, and the first lilacs of spring. I love the way the wind makes ocean waves out of a field of wheat, and I love the way it whispers through the drying cornstalks in autumn. This is Indiana--all of the Midwest, really--and it is not just "flyover territory," as I've heard it so uncharitably referred to by people on both coasts whose lives move a little faster than ours. You may view our ways of life as being old-fashioned, but that doesn't make us relics. We just blend the old with the new and go on about our business the way people of the heath always have. :)

So, what do we do here?

We hang out {though not often in trees . . .}

We get together for backyard barbecues on indecently hot and muggy summer days, when it would probably be smarter to stay indoors in the air-conditioning . . . and I will not mention the mosquitoes. Or the ants. Or even the earwigs.

We go fishing

and sometimes find unexpected treasures.

We talk to frogs,

make funny faces,

and do goofy things.

Some of us grow out our hair and don't really like being caught in the garden,

but we can always find peace in our own backyard.

Sometimes we venture out elsewhere,

where the antics of the natives never fail to amuse and delight,
and where sometimes we unearth more unexpected treasures along the highways and byways.
We might go for a bike ride through the twilight down a long, deserted road
and discover that beauty lies around every bend.
It can be found in simple things, like a freshly tilled field,
in an old bridge that leads to nowhere,

in the sadness of abandoned homes and farms,

in nature,

even in the angular structure of a feed mill

or a water tower silhouetted by the evening sun.

We weather many storms

but stay strong through it all, because we have each other.

Sometimes we even stay up past the witching hour
and gaze in wonder at the moon.
And when it all gets to be a bit much,
we rest.

I hope you all enjoy this glimpse. This place, these people, are special to me. :)

Wishing you all faery kisses and midsummer blessings,

Mad {madly!}


Anonymous said...

Midsummer blessings to you as well.

Il oved this post and all the pics of your home and family!!

Billie said...

Beautifully done! I love the barbeque pic with Great Aunt Gertrude! If you want to check out my blogspot at

In many ways...although we are not so have been my inspiration to keep on writing and dreaming.

your lil cousin,
Billie (Bonny's daughter)

Shel said...

Hey, Madelyn;
As a relative newcomer to the Midwest - been in Illinois three years, originally a native Texan - I have to say I adore the seasons here, and your post was just a perfect tribute!


Michelle said...

Beautifully said. Made me want to come visit you! Just checking in with you! Hope the writing is going well and Midsummer Blessings to you as well.