So this weekend’s ride across the prairie took us on rural “Chicago Road” from southeast of Dixon, Illinois all the way back to the western suburbs of the Windy City. At times the road was clear, at other times we were driving along hard packed snow with hints of brown sand to keep things from getting too slippery.
Even though we’ve done it a lot during the pandemic, I do enjoy these rides across the farmland and Illinois prairie. Living in the big city is exciting but as a guy that grew up in a pretty rural area of Upstate New York, I can sometimes be overwhelmed by the amount of “input” I get from urban life.
We drove through several small towns during our journey, and two of them stood out to me. It was too dark to take photos (I need to upgrade my iPhone to something with “night vision” or whatever it’s called), but Lee Center, Illinois looked like it was at one time a charming small town. It’s reminiscent of the hamlet near the house my dad built. Like that hamlet, Lee Center looks a little forgotten. This makes me sad.
We also passed through Paw Paw. There was a little more activity: a small supermarket, a convenience store, and a couple of store fronts. There was a few more signs of life but it too felt like it was a little forgotten. Maybe folks there want it that way. I don’t know.
I do know I find the farm pictured above quite charming. The simplicity of the landscape gives me peace.