Daydreams while passing corn stubble in white fields


David Milne3It was 900 miles over two days.  I sat quietly in the passenger seat  and gazed out the window.  White expansive fields and woodlots flickered past.   It was two days of reflection, observation and daydreams.  I love a road trip.

Warren had organized our route.  He had saved up several trips and combined them into one zig zaggy marathon.  We passed west of Toronto, a stop in Milton, another in Acton and straight west out the 401 highway.  We slipped across the border into Michigan and saw a man about  a  engine in Almont.  I napped in the car while Warren conducted his business.   We spent the night  in Sarnia then  headed south to Chatham, another obscure backyard garage and another  nap.   More car pieces to pick up in Mississauga.  Kids to see in Toronto and finally home.

The best part of the trip was observing the countryside in late February.  It reminded me of a David Milne painting.

David MilneThe world outside my car window was painted in neutrals.  They are gentle, accepting shades this time of the year.  I appreciate the pigments.  The farm fences are a Payne’s gray.  Old barns and country farm houses are in soft ochre, sienna and umbra.  I notice that the willow trees are showing spring growth – a  lovely soft Naples yellow.  Between all of the objects are thick applications of titanium white.

For hours and hours I studied the woodlots pasting my car window.  It disturbs me to see fallen rotting branches neglected on the forest floors.  I delight when we pass healthy outcrops of upright forests.  They flicker pass my judgemental eye like spokes on a bicycle.

I look closely, patiently waiting to catch some wild life moving in the bush.  Everything is still and frozen.

Just outside of Chatham we came across thirty or more wind turbines.  Their blades not moving.  They towered and  screamed down on the forever altered landscape.  Tiny farm houses and barns were dwarfed in their shadow.  The battle lost.

For more hours I study individual trees.  I focus on  their form and structure; their silhouettes and lines.   I notice their cast shadows when the sun breaks through the clouds.   We pass hundreds of old farms dotted against long horizons.  For miles and miles I study the rows left behind in the corn stubble.

My mind is a blank palette.  Without paying attention, thoughts and images drift in and out.  Some gather and take weight.  I ponder and dream.   I think of the common denominator:  the soil.  I imagine the land being cleared by the early settlers.  The poor suffering Irish,  bone thin and exhausted from the famine.  Scottish immigrants were healthier.  They arrived with more materials and ablely chopped and cleared  their land.    One hundred and fifty years of working the soil.  Feeding the growing population.

We pass lonely cemeteries.  There is nothing but snow and tomb stones left by the side of the road.  This is my heritage.  My father’s family is scattered out this way. All buried and forgotten.   I think of my great great grandparents.  It is funny that I know my mother’s history but not my father’s  yet that is the name I proudly carry.  So many  questions left unasked.  Opportunities lost.   I remind myself to look at those old photographs again.     Were they happy? I think of eulogies and captured history.  I wish I had more stories about my heritage.  We drive on.

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In Mississauga we get lost due to  road construction. There are piles of dirt half covered in snow and the traffic is confusing.  The purity of the countryside is behind us now.  We are in the city surrounded by other cars and fast food outlets.  I get a headache.  It is now too much driving.  Too much stimuli,  Tim Hortons’ and bus exhaust.

This road trip gave me time.  Two days to lose myself in barely there changing images;   some real and some imagined.  Just like snow blowing across the field, my mind whirled and soared.  The city was my eventual snow fence.

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About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
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8 Responses to Daydreams while passing corn stubble in white fields

  1. you should have stopped by if you were in Chatham–I live in Kingsville–only about 50 miles away from Chatham — I love a road trip too–felt like I was along on your journey

  2. I love the random and not so random thoughts that pass through your mind as you stare out the car window. I’m always quiet in the car, preferring to look and let my mind wander too.

  3. This is one of the reasons I love public transportation – the ability to stare out a window and let my mind drift. It doesn’t happen often in the car, since I’m usually the driver, but I completely understand what you are talking about here. I get this way while I’m outside gardening, too. I’m thinking of nothing at all in particular and it’s restorative.

  4. Donna says:

    My favourite scenes in the landscape of winter is how the cedar rail fences stand out against the snow and I love looking at the shapes of the tree’s branches void of their leaves in the winter. Thank you Diane for a great read. Sometimes we look at a winter scenes as grey and devoid of colour but your certainly changed that thought.

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