This was submitted to a magazine in Iowa, however, since they haven’t responded I decided to post on my blog. The photos are from my trip to Iowa last fall.
I grew up in rural southeast Iowa and now live in the big city of Phoenix. After graduating from high school, I attended college in northeast Missouri. During my years in college, some of my family moved to Arizona. Upon college graduation I decided to follow them and moved to Phoenix. Because we all know there are more opportunities in the big city than rural Iowa. Today I would consider the opportunities different, not necessarily more.
When planning my trips back to Iowa to visit family, they are usually planned during harvest time. This year I drove back instead of flying. No worrying about how many bags to check in at the airport or how much they weighed. I could travel with all of my photography gear as I anticipated capturing what I miss most about Iowa.
What I miss most about Iowa is harvest time, the rural landscape changing right before my eyes. Fields once full of crops now empty and waiting for the next planting. Everything is changing, the landscape, the angle of the sun, the air is now crisp. Yes, everything in the country is changing. However, growing up I always felt like everything stayed the same.
Harvest time, a time when the once quiet landscape of summer is now full of hustle and bustle. The landscape is dotted with combines, tractors pulling wagons full of gold. The rural roads have traffic, farmers taking their bounty to the elevators or moving equipment from one field to another. Even as busy as the farmers are, they wave when passing. Unless they are driving a very wide combine on an old narrow highway and come to the bridge I’m standing on making photographs of the fall color along Big Creek. I’m sure that farmer thought I was some crazy lady.
Harvest time, a time of community. Farmers helping each other pick the crops, hauling the crops to the elevator or even getting in a final cutting of the hayfields. And sometimes the farmers are what I call temporary farmers. Temporary farmers you ask? The family members and friends who offer a helping hand during this busy time of year.
Harvest time, the beginning of the holiday season. After all, the first Thanksgiving was an autumn harvest feast. Cornstalks, Indian corn and pumpkins used to decorate yards, porches, front doors and fireplace mantels.
Harvest time, when leaves turn from green to yellow, orange and red. I miss driving down my favorite country road or through my favorite park to see the amazing change of color. Or maybe a Sunday afternoon hike through the woods to fill my lungs with the sweet earthy aroma of fallen leaves decaying and becoming compost. Watching squirrels gather and bury fallen acorns. Waking up to find frost covered fallen leaves that look as if they were coated with sugar overnight and are ready to decorate a cake.
Yes, there are crops to be harvested and fall color in Arizona. But it’s just not the same as in Iowa. My family has now moved back to Iowa as they wanted to be closer to family which makes me miss Iowa even more. I followed my family to Arizona, maybe one day I’ll follow them back to Iowa.