WHEN MY HUSBAND and I moved back to his hometown in the Midwest, I quickly discovered that I felt out of place in the vast monotony of the prairie landscape. The term “flyover country” suddenly made a lot of sense. We would drive for miles in a straight line and the view wouldn’t change at all. Being used to the topography of the Northeast, I preferred a more erratic landscape—larger swaths of woods with hills or mountains. Anything to break up the view a bit.

I did enjoy summer nights surrounded by fireflies or fall mornings once the fields of soy had turned silver and gold, but winter was a rude awakening as the dominant ...

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