I am grateful that I am not asked this daily – how come you do not spend even more time in southern France if you like it that much? I’d have to patter on about work, about credit card debt, about staying close to loved ones.
But really, it is also because there are, in hues and tones, days like this past Sunday here, in south-central Wisconsin. It was a Madeleine Peyroux kind of day. (I do not know what Madeleine Peyroux would regard as a good day, but her music is pretty near the top of my favorites – all mellow and jazzy, all at the same time.)
And so I took my ever so light and airy Mr. G out for a ride. Ed, who knows how to find bike routes like I know how to find good restaurant menus, offered to lead me on a tame twenty mile loop, through hills and vales surrounding the village of Stoughton. He got us good and lost, but what’s another five miles of circling past barking dogs and dusty tractors when temperatures are soaring toward eighty and people virtually pull you over to remark what a fine day it is.
Oh, I do miss the vineyards of Languedoc. Of course I do. The trucks that rumbled through last week and knocked grapes into large bins are not to be seen here. Our harvest has monster trucks going through and knocking down fields of corn.
But the colors – how could I not love the colors of gold – fields of corn and soy against a blue sky?
I was feeling pensive all day long. I had had a wonderful Friday evening with my first year law students (a fantastic bunch!), a quite fine Saturday at the market and now, on Sunday, I was taking stock. It’s easy, isn’t it, to roll into a ponderous mood when the trees are still with leaves, beautiful actually, but about to let go of it all. Done for now, come back next spring, we’re about to close for the season.
But in the end, for me, the soybeans were what stole the day. True, they haven’t the exquisite beauty of a cluster of grapes, but still, they are something else – a mass of orderly pods, as if gathered for a demonstration on a large square, all in solidarity, pushing their own cause. A nod to the Midwest – you’ve got the beans, that’s for sure!