Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Essential Passions of the Heart

Redemske pulled me up and over quite a few of the Ponca Hills yesterday. We rode about 35 miles and climbed over 1500 feet. For once, August relented; when we rode under the Mormon Bridge at 10:00, the temperature hovered around 70 degrees, and it stayed under 80 throughout the ride.

Because the summers here in Nebraska are so humid and the winters so cold, spring and fall are pretty sacred. Yesterday was glorious preview of what's to come next month. We spun through old-growth elm forest, horse pastures, and terraced grain fields. I even tackled some of the famous gravel beloved of so many riders here.

I told Bryan I'd forgotten how green Nebraska can be in August. And it was a rumpled, big sky green:
photo by Bryan Redemske

These kinds of rides are helping me reconnect with everything I love about Nebraska. I can't wait for fall.

I also felt integrated with the countryside. Getting away from the desk and smelling the earth helps my project, because it reminds me of why I chose to spend three years of my life writing about local agriculture and its origins in Wordsworth:
Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language; because in that condition of life our elementary feelings coexist in a state of greater simplicity, and, consequently, may be more accurately contemplated, and more forcibly communicated; because the manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings, and, from the necessary character of rural occupations, are more easily comprehended, and are more durable; and, lastly, because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature.
"Essential passions of the heart." Pretty good reasons to do pretty much anything.

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