Where My Heart Lies


I am in a rural area.
It is a flat plain, with rich, dark, loamy soil.
The dirt here is dark, from cocoa to black – from merely laced with fertility to boiling with it.
The people here are friendly, open, rich in spirit and generosity. They are genuine.
The crops here were bountiful. Now, with the changing of the seasons, the land rests, dozes off, into the long slumber of winter.
For I am not home, in the heartland. I am in the parallel universe, the mirror image of the heartland, the polar opposite of home.
I am in the plains of central Chile, the breadbasket of the nation.
I awake to the crowing of the roosters and the lowing of the cattle. The puttering of the tractors paces my day.
All is good here.
But all is not good everywhere.
All is not good at home.
Home is under muddy water.
At home, my family and friends throw sandbags instead of Frisbees.
This is not how summer is meant to be in the heartland.
And here, 5,520 miles / 8,885 km from home, I long to be there, throwing sandbags.  

Home, where my heart lies. 


To those of you back home in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, our thoughts and prayers are with you.


8 thoughts on “Where My Heart Lies

  1. Ron Baker

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those in Iowa and other parts of the midwest whose homes and businesses are in ruin.

  2. Joe Reardon

    Rivers are cresting, worst should be over (unless it rains again). Cedar River in CR is 12′ higher than flood of 93, you wouldn’t believe the pictures, it looks like Venice. DSM has benefited from the extra levies & precautions taken after the “500-year flood”; we need to think of a more fitting name for these 1.5-decade floods.

  3. Bob G

    Doug/Steph… Hope this finds you both in good spirits. Milwaukee has already set a new record for the rainiest month in history, and today is the 14th. This on top of record snowfall last winter. I feel for the folks in IA, but there are several WI towns that are going thru the second major flood in a year as the mighty Kickapoo river broke it’s banks. (Gays Mills and Soldiers Grove to name two. We visited both last month.) They were flooded in AUG 2007 and again this week. And I was complaining about two inches in the basement…..!?

  4. John Dawes

    Doug & Steph:
    I was just back in Adel this past weekend for my parent’s 60th anniversary. The Raccoon River was “behaving”, but with more rains since then they have sandbagged the entire stretch of the park, etc.

    It was good to see your sister, Barb, and i had a beer with Jim Schwarzkopf and Jim Peters on sunday night. I told them i caught up with you guys in Santiago back in late 2007. Hope all is well in Chile. I think of you often.

  5. Melody

    There is so much water right now. The damn is over filled, Chamberlain funeral home is surrounded by water and they keep shutting down the highway between Perry and Adel. The river is almost level with the bridges going outside of town on Highway 6, but unlike the 93 flood I can’t see fish swimming in the ditch yet. So far the only levee they rebuilt after 93 that did not hold; was in one of the subdivisions in Des Moines. More rain tonight hopelfully everyone will stay dry.

  6. Michelle Main

    Doug and Steph…

    Hope your travels are going well. Our thoughts and prayers are with your families that are in the midwest as they are with our family members back there as well. Blessings to you both. See you soon.

    Tara and Michelle

  7. The Mayor

    Doug and Steph,

    A 1/2 mile stretch of 30,000 sandbags from the pool to the city shed down by the old funeral home was constructed by 300 volunteers on Tuesday and another 200 on Wednesday. The community really turned out with the football team leading the way. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. The waters are receding and never really challenged our defense line. We are much more fortunate than those east of us.

  8. Antje, Steph's mom

    To Doug’s and Steph’s family members and friends in the Mid West: You are in my prayers during this difficult time, I am thinking of you and I am sending you my best wishes. Antje