Wednesday evening, after dinner, my friend Scott Stultz and I drove out through the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania countryside so that I could photograph the tobacco fields at dusk.
Winding lanes, one-lane covered bridges, and stone houses dotted the route we took north from Marietta. In some forested creek bottoms, the old oak canopies were so thick overhead to make it seem like night was scouting the terrain.
The route we traversed took us out beyond Mount Joy. I wondered– as we took one hairpin curve after another, winding over and around drumlin hills and ridges–if we would reach our destination before the twilight vanished.
“This is one my biking routes,” Scott said. “Isn’t it gorgeous?”
Since I left the wild reaches of Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains decades ago, I have been unaccustomed to seeing landscapes so picturesque as to conjure empty lumps in my chest, but heartbreakingly beautiful scenes unwound before me with every turn.
When the August sun’s haunches squat to the horizon line, the late evening light crawls and drips. Serrated cornstalk leaves were so tall and thick as to make greenish-gold canyons through which we drove. I’ve never seen forbidding corn before. Moses may have parted the Red Sea, but he would never have been able to part that corn.