on spring mornings to work the farm with his dad and thehired men. When he had a choice Jody always asked to workthe west quarter where his imagination helped him visualizean otherwise imperceptible tilt of the North Americancontinent toward the Mississippi. He further imagined theview clear back east to the ocean as he imagined it havingonly seen a few pictures. But he could see both his parentsand grandparents houses and the place midway where hewould build his own home someday.Now, more than twenty years later sitting in thecaptain’s chair secure inside his tractor he turned off thestereo, removed his protective earphones, switched theheater fan off, took the engine out of gear and looked out of the transparent bubble at the world as it must have lookedon the morning of Creation. Hearing the roar he imaginedthe smell of diesel exhaust as his father and grandfatheronce used in their machines to work the first square of landpurchased by his family after leaving Germany at thebeginning of the 19
century. Now as a man piloting his owntractor he felt the same as he did when he was a child ridingon his dad’s lap on the old Mitsubishi.He felt awe for the vistas that still took his breath away,and the generations of his family who now lived once morethrough him and in his flesh, he felt secure in a peacefulunderstanding that like the generations of fathers before himif he took care of the land, the land would take care of hisfamily and him. He felt the same way as a child and now asa father himself.He always stopped the tractor in this spot where theview was the most inspiring, his family’s land met the skyalong an unbroken line. He lifted the container from itsholder and twisted open the lid and the bubble filled with thesharp smell of the coffee that his mother taught his wife tomake. Cheddar coffee as Martha called it, unspeakablystrong, a double measure of grinds mixed with crushed eggshells and cayenne pepper. It was something special thewomen only made twice a year, during planting and harvest.