The land takes hold and humbles and diminishes. It punishes a soul for the vainglorious hope of harnessing it. Rich brown, powder gray, it makes no difference; it overwhelms and chokes a man’s ego. It lodges itself upon the skin, under the fingernails, inside work boots and carburetors, it’s always there, at the foot of the bed, in the washing machine, behind the ears, laying claim to you, reminding you it’s there and soon you won’t be. You’ll be buried in it in time, and even if a hard wind comes and pulls your bones out of the ground, it will mock you, mock your arrogance.
This was our life, and we expected no more than a decent crop, grocery money, medicine money, repair-the-tin-roof money. Warmth in winter, clean water in summer, the haunting fragrance of corn to placate our shabby mortality.