What happens if you live in a place where nothing happens?
I mean, nothing.
You move to the Deep Midwest. You can make it in Chicago or Cedar Rapids (known hereabouts as “Secret Rabbits”), but you’re not sure about Sioux City or Des Moines.
Time slows down.
“There is no culture,” someone tells you.
You breathe deeply.
Culture means going to Borders (before Borders closes) to buy the New York Times on Sunday. Before the flood in 2008 destroyed the University of Iowa Art Museum, you could go to Iowa City and see Jackson Pollock’s painting, “Mural,” painted for the entrance to Peggy Guggenheim’s townhouse in 1943 (now it’s at the Des Moines Art Center). Or you can go to the Iowa State Capitol grounds and look at a conventional folksy bronze sculpture of Abe Lincoln reading to his son. “Lincoln and Tad,” dedicated on the Capitol grounds in Des Moines in 1961, was funded by a State Fair booth and a school penny drive.
My personal favorite is touring the Blue Bunny ice cream factory in Le Mars, IA.
“Couldn’t we move to Mars?” I asked.
OK, it’s really pretty here in summer. The prairie tall grasses are dotted with flowers, the alternating cornfields and soybean fields are beautifully green, the windmill farms artistically provide clean energy (Iowa is second in the nation with wind energy), and the bike trails go over the rivers, past farms, and through the woods, sometimes through Amish country.
A lot of the land is rolling. It’s not as flat as you think. Though it can be flat in a different way. When there’s not enough to do.
It can be as slow as watching the Eagle Cam at the Decorah Raptor Center. I have it on right now: Eagle Mom and chicks are huddled together in their nest. Eagle Mom turns her head to the left. She turns her head to the right. She lifts one wing, then another. The wind blows.
But slowness can be good. You breathe deeply. You take long walks. You read more.
It reduces stress. Your blood pressure and pulse rate go down.
It can be good to live slow. There is a Slow Movement. According to the website, the movement wants to help people regain connectedness to the earth (gardening, etc.), their families, and their culture.
And a lot of it is for better health.