an iowa moment


A few weeks ago, my English teacher vaguely introduced an assignment. The assignment, which began with free-writing and brainstorming exercises, was to write a narrative based on a moment in your life that represented Iowa: an Iowa moment. Only after my classmates and I had started writing our narratives did my English teacher announce that our essays would be entries into a high school essay contest. And, the winner of the contest would receive $500! For me, the prospect of winning a $500 scholarship (to be used toward college expenses) was even more of an incentive to write an interesting narrative. I love to write, and rarely does the opportunity for creative writing present itself in school, so I really enjoyed this assignment. Below is my narrative.

My Iowa Moment: A Summer Drive

Fields, abundant with summer’s long-awaited crop of corn, pass by as my dad and I drive along the rolling, two-lane highway toward home. In the topless Land Rover, dubbed “The Rhino Chaser” for reasons unknown, I have long ago given up all attempts to control my hair; the cool, crisp wind blows my sun-kissed locks wildly about my face, and I joyously embrace the feeling of imperfection.

The sun is setting to our left, a beautiful golden globe that paints the sky varying shades of pink, red, orange, and yellow. Robust magentas, fiery oranges, and mild yellows meld together, creating an abstract, illuminating piece of art.  The sunset casts a soft light on the passing fields, causing the crops to faintly, yet distinctly, glow in the gradually darkening evening light, like a sought-for treasure, unmistakably found, or a star just beginning to twinkle in the night sky.

The Rhino Chaser reluctantly cruises at forty-five miles an hour as we continue along the highway, the unwelcomed leader of a steadily increasing line of impatient vehicles. I give no mind to these followers who are, without a doubt, fluently cursing its annoying, unbearably slow speed. I once minded the seemingly endless eight-mile stretch of countryside that connected me to a greater civilization. I, too, on a vast number of occasions, professed my utter exasperation at tractors and cars that crept cautiously down the highway. Yet on this gloriously placid, picturesque summer evening, I cannot help but appreciate the Rhino Chaser’s old age, as I have more time to savor Iowa’s often-unrecognized beauty.

I glance over at my dad, pinning my rapidly moving hair against my head and out of my eyes. He has removed his right hand from its normal position on the shifter and placed it leisurely on his Carhart-covered thigh. His left hand rests on the tarnished steering wheel and he playfully moves these fingers up and down in the refreshing evening wind. From this carefree, relaxed posture and the smallest, yet surest, hints of a smile on his slightly sunburned face, I know that he, too, is satisfied with the Rhino Chaser’s steady speed and is relishing Iowa’s scenic, peaceful countryside.

We pass another field of corn, the rows perfectly, identically spaced. The uniform rows stretch far into the setting sun, which deceivingly obscures their end, making the crop appear limitless, as it continues to sink below the horizon and darken the sky. Ahead of me, I can see the flicker of streetlamps and business signs, a sharp, too bright sight after the soothing sunset. I realize that my tranquil drive is quickly ending; eight miles has proven to only be a brief moment in time.

My dad’s right hand moves back to the shifter, and I notice his gaze sharpen. The Rhino Chaser begins to decrease its speed as we arrive in town. Too soon we are parked in our driveway, the Rhino Chaser’s roaring engine now silent. Although the serene beauty of Iowa’s countryside is behind me, I hop out of the vehicle, smiling, knowing that tomorrow offers the chance to experience it once more. 

Have a relaxing weekend!


4 responses »

  1. Abby, I love it. Your description of the ride plus all the beauty tells me why you feel so relaxed and don’t mind that the wind is blowing your hair. You and your Dad were so at ease probably both enjoying almost the same things. Take time often to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

    Love you much
    Grannie E.

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