|Beecher, Illinois (photo by Tom Peters)|
This, from regular reader Tom Peters—thank you Tom!—reminds us that we need to expand our idea of natural beauty. We have no trouble recognizing parks and forests as lovely; some of us don't, anyway. But farmland fails to meet the cut. Perhaps because it is cultivated—not raw, pristine natural beauty, but curated by man. Perhaps because, under certain circumstances, it can look bleak—fallow in winter, mile after mile of barren fields. But then again, so can the most gorgeous national park, as someone who has hiked out of Yellowstone through a hazy, humid morning after a sleepless night can assure you.
Tom employed two photographer's tricks that are worth mentioning. First, he stopped the car—a lot of people aren't willing to do that, both being in a needless hurry and, I suppose, for valid concerns about the safety of pulling over to the side of a road, even momentarily. He also took a number of exposures and picked the best. The results speak for themselves.
This scene of amber waves of grain and fluffy white clouds was captured in Beecher, a village just under three square miles in Will County, about 50 miles south of Chicago.
|Katharine Lee Bates|
Speaking of human tears, the rest of the original poem went like this:
America! America!God shed His grace on theeTill nobler men keep once againThy whiter jubilee!
While "Thy whiter jubilee" could easily be the heading for our current sad chapter in American history, it was swapped a decade later for the closing lines we are all familiar with, "And crown thy good, with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea." A nobler, if less readily attainable ambition.