It took a half a day to leave Chicago, and after that it took even longer to find ourselves at the edge of the Great Planes, crossing into the wide expanse of prairie that is Nebraska. It wasn’t what any of us expected. We’d been warned about boredom; about the endless flat expanse of field and sky, but none of us were bored. Even in the back seat, the boys seemed lulled by the wideness of sky and grass: Reading books and drawing pictures and watching the world go by. Lunch on the banks of the fast-moving Mississippi

Outside, the landscape was a soft and rippling quilt of grass and cottonwoods and creeks and farms with circular irrigation systems. The kind that from above make great round crop circles. Wheat fields, and also, genetically modified corn. Miles of it. Newly planted. The earth raw, the day ending slowly. Violet and vermillion for hours as we chased the sun west.

Omaha after dark, later than we’d planned. Carrying the boys in from the car. Falling into bed heavy-lidded and grateful to all be there together, and then waking early to hard-falling rain.

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