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.