Last Monday we rose early and hit the road at 5:30 a.m. in order to beat the traffic between Bloomington and Indianapolis. During the construction of I-69, with its inevitable delays, detours, and closures, we have made only limited trips north, but the lure of visiting friends in Richmond proved too strong. It was very, very dark, and traffic was fairly heavy, prompting us to wonder if commuters have altered their work schedules to accommodate road construction delays.
Our first stop in Richmond took us to the founder of Sweet Annie’s Soapworks. I met her at the local yarn shop years ago when she was first starting to make soap from goats milk. I love the scent, texture and how it leaves my skin feeling soft. It’s harder to get now that I’ve moved away, so it seemed like a good idea to stock up!
Next, we continued on to our friend C’s home for breakfast and a discussion of Paulette Jiles’s Simon the Fiddler. Years ago we were in a larger book group. Over time the group faded away, but the three of us continued to meet sporadically over the years. More recently, COVID-19 and the ability to connect via ZOOM gave us the boost we needed to meet more regularly. Meeting in person once again was a real treat!
After a good visit and discussion, we left to meet up with our friend M. for a picnic at the Middlefork Reservoir. It was a beautiful autumn day, and with the exception of bees eager to taste our Frosty, we had a great time. After much laughter, stories, and a walk around the grounds, it was time to head for home. I wish we lived closer and could visit more often.
Instead of facing traffic on I-70, we drove the “long” way home through the countryside and soon found ourselves in corn country. Country roads like this take me back years to the place I know as home. Growing up in Ohio, I am used to the grid pattern established by the Land Ordinance of 1785, where townships were laid out with 36 one-mile squares of 640 acres each. I used to think I preferred symmetry because of my German heritage, but now I think it’s because I grew up with it. Order can be very comforting,
As a farmer’s daughter, I have many memories of cornfields, how they smell and how the stalks rustle in the wind. After harvest one year, I spent hours in the field gleaning corn to raise money for a trip to New York City to attend a Luther League convention. From cornfield to Madison Square Garden and Greenwich Village. What an eye opener.
M., who is a poet, once wrote a poem about soybeans, so this field made me think of her. I love this brief moment when the fields are shimmering gold. And red barns always remind me of home.
The fields were busy with farmers harvesting their crops. Even though my pictures were taken from a moving car with a phone, they capture the dust, the power of the corn shooting into the wagon, and the size of the machinery farmers use today. I still have vivid memories of my mother swatting me when I, as a preschool child, tried to climb up the ladder of my father’s 1950s-era combine.
Fall is such a fun time to drive through the countryside, in part because of roadside stands selling mums (I’ll pass on the kale), tractors constructed from bales of straw, apple orchards and cider for sale, and fields of pumpkins. Soon there will be signs advertising corn mazes. I’ve never done one, have you?
The road home happened to take us by Nashville, home to a well-stocked yarn shop, The Clay Purl. Talk about a perfect day, a drive through country roads and an opportunity to feast upon colorful skeins wool. I hope your autumn days are filled with sights, smells, and sounds that delight you. Happy fall!