My dad and I took a trip to eastern Washington to visit grandma. On the way home we took the scenic route through the Chinook Pass, part of Mount Rainier National Park. Breathtaking. And completely worth the added 1.5 hours to our driving time. The road wove around the mountain, an asphalt ribbon amongst spikes of towering evergreens, trickling waterfalls, and coy mountaintops peeking out from behind summer clouds. Leaving Yakima Valley, the temperature was creeping toward 100 degrees; Chinook Pass--temp of 42 degrees. A world unto itself.
A few days later it was off to the Midwest and the land of sweet corn. You know, I lived in Iowa for four years, and not once did I pick my own corn. Not until last week, anyway. With three blond boys in tow, we went in search of a corn field. Once there, we were administered buckets and directions into the first row of corn: yellow corn on the right, white corn on the left. The boys forayed into the field of stalks, and within minutes the troop had three dozen ears of corn bucketed up and ready to go. Around us the sun beat down as wispy clouds trailed overhead. The sky seemingly went on forever, as did the rows of corn.
Back in Brooklyn I am already missing the wide open spaces. But on the bus ride home from the airport I was reminded of NewYorkers' unexpected sweetness when the man sitting across from us saw our suitcases and dazed faces and launched into an explanation of where we could catch the train and how to find the elevator in the event that our suitcases were too heavy to carry down the stairs. Here in the city way may not grow sweet corn, but we grow some sweet people, complete with a New York husk of gruff. It's worth a foray into our fields, though. I promise.