Here’s my view right now.
A warm June breeze waves through the lush green leaves while the red-winged blackbirds argue over territory. A few billowy white clouds float across the blue expanse above me. The remnants of the cottonwood seeds float a bit closer to the ground.
I’ve wanted to sit in my garden all week to experience the beauty that is Illinois in this late spring season. And I’m grateful to be in it today.
I couldn’t imagine living in any other place in the whole world. While many would argue that Illinois is a boring place to live with no mountains or oceans, that’s actually fine with me. I love living in a place that has subtle, yet familiar changes I can notice each week.
It wasn’t that long ago when the tulips burst out of the ground marking the end of winter and ushering in spring.
Even the dandelions brighten up the newly thawed soil. What isn’t there to love about the new life that we witness in our own backyard?
In my state’s springtime, I welcome back the robins and cardinals. I feel the new blades of grass under my bare feet. And those goofy daffodils make me smile every time! How in the world do they know when to pop their bright faces above ground?
I don’t mind the muddy muck that marks the end of winter – except that I’m sad when I no longer get to see this out of my kitchen window.
The hushed majesty of newly fallen snow causes my heart to leap EVERY time I see it! I’m so protective of the ‘snowscape’ that I don’t want anyone to complain about the actual touch of God. Because that’s what snow is to me. God reaching down to remind me that He covers all. With grace and joy and delight.
The winter skies are indescribable in Illinois. Vivid orange, purple, and pinks outdo themselves as they paint the beginning and ending of the shortened days. Because there’s nothing to block the view, I actually can take it all in. It is sheer magnificence.
I caught the love of Illinos from my dad. He verbalized something about the world around us nearly every day. Sure, he had to watch the weather because he was a farmer, but he was the first one to identify a bird or insect or cloud formation. He modeled that there was plenty of beauty to enjoy right around our farm in Millbrook.
I’ve brought that with me. I cringe when people complain about the corn fields. Or the weather. Those are the very things that are home to me. Familiar. Illinois has been the setting for my entire life.
The beauty of the harvest in fall. The smell of the corn dust. The crisp morning air that bites, yet invites me outside. The ever changing slant of the sun’s rays that proclaim fall is here.
Illinois is a magical place to live. Wedged between the seasons of blizzards and heat waves comes new life and harvest. Connecting deeply to the changing of the seasons is who I am.
Sure, I enjoy seeing new places – even mountains and oceans – but for me, there is no place like home. And for me, Illinois is home.
I’d love to hear what you love about Illinois – or about the place you live. God’s outdone Himself to create beauty – it’s simply our job to notice.