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The rest of the country

I just took a train trip in one direction, followed by a car trip back to Ann Arbor. It wasn't a sightseeing trip, but I couldn't help but see a lot of sights.

One thing I saw a lot of was farms. It's amazing how much of the land out there is devoted to growing plants. Some of the crops that these farms grow is of course used to feed people, but so much of it is used for other things like feeding livestock. A surprising amount of it is used to produce the "raw materials" for processed "food products" like corn syrup, carageenan gum, and other fillers that are ubiquitous in processed food but not essential for food in general.

But that's beside the point. The thing I thought about as I stared out at all those farms was what it must be like to live on a farm. What is it like to be a farmer on the dry, flat farms of eastern Colorado and western Kansas, where the sky is blue all the way down to the horizon? Out there, you can stand under the bright sun and see thunderstorms off in the distance. They're discrete; you can see from one side of them to the other, and if they're far enough away you can see from their black bottoms to their white, fluffy, impossibly high tops. There are no trees to obstruct your view, and there's no humidity in the air to blur it.

How about living on a Missouri farm? In parts of that state, the land is gently rolling; the small areas between the cultivated fields and along the roads is packed with tall trees and thick vegetation, and the warm wind in May smells like fresh-cut grass. In the low-lying areas there's almost always a small stream of the sort that gives you visions of turtles and frogs in the undergrowth.

I'll probably never be a farmer. But it's good to get away from the law school for a while, and take a break from the narrow focus on the five or six largest metropolitan areas that's such a feature of life in law school, to just see what other people are doing. It's good to see where they're living, and remind myself that our country is a big, big, place.

Comments

Perhaps you could retire to a farm. After reading a novel called My Antonia I've thought about how wonderful it would be to enjoy the peace and tranquility farmlife would bring. My father was a farmer and he has said that he enjoyed the work and stressless environment. I'll probaby never be a farmer either, but I might buy some land and slow down the days when I'm an old man.

Perhaps you could retire to a farm. After reading a novel called My Antonia I've thought about how wonderful it would be to enjoy the peace and tranquility farmlife would bring. My father was a farmer and he has said that he enjoyed the work and stressless environment. I'll probaby never be a farmer either, but I might buy some land and slow down the days when I'm an old man.

Nice reflection, Carey. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived on a farm in eastern Colorado (my dad was actually born on the farm). I had the enormous pleasure of spending summers there. Oddly enough, my maternal grandparents had a cattle ranch in northern Wyoming that I visited somewhat less regularly, but it where I learned to ride. Thanks for triggering those memories! :)

And you could have chickens. Uh huh.

I'm from a Missouri farm. It's really not all it's cracked up to be. Sure, there are moments when you just kinda look around and take it all in, but, for the most part, you just kinda toil in this godforsaken Missouri weather.

Maybe you could become a country lawyer. I'd try to move to a small town myself if it weren't so hard to meet women in one. As it is, I'll probably move to a city that isn't in the Big Five you refer to (I'm guessing NY, LA, Chi., D.C, and Atlanta?)

Here's to living in small towns or small cities. I never want to practice in one of the Big Five.

Maybe, Larry, the fact that there are fewer women is a bonus. After all, there's also fewer men. And you'll meet the same women multiple times, instead of a one-off meeting at a bar. People who live in small towns get married (and start propagating like rabbits) with surprising ease.