I continue to roll by at my regulated 3 miles per hour to witness America’s past, and it’s present here in Iowa. Who would know, except maybe an Iowan, that Johnny Carson grew up in Corning. “Here’s Johnny!” I recite in my head as I look at farmers having breakfast at the town cafe. If Johnny had only worn overalls he could pass for several of these guys at their morning coffee gathering. A day or two later the road takes me past the tiny hamlet of Lucas. A bushy-browed likeness of John l Lewis, the famous (or infamous) UMW leader is on a sign in front of one of Lucas’s few remaining buildings. Here in Albia, I walk by a sign proclaiming it to be the birthplace of the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross.” This road of mine follows an older road, which followed the railroad that, for the most part, followed routes of the Native American. From the perspective of a man just moving 3 miles per hour, it seems a short time really for so much
history to pass by. It is a wondrous feeling to glimpse preserved fragments of each piece of the American stage. They are all here. Some crumbling, some growing, and some waiting. Iowans seem resilient in keeping what they have, even if it means some inconvenience.
In days to come I will walk near the house in Grant Wood’s Iconic masterpiece “American Gothic.” I will also pass the Fairﬁeld area and will most likely see ‘Pundits’ who came here to pray for peace at the Maharishi Institute… another community experiment on these Midwest plains.
Interesting to note that Iowans have been involved in climate awareness for years. The Iowa Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience Report was assembled in 2011 with the assistance of the EPA. It asked the question; How should hazard mitigation and other community planning programs respond to climate change? What I witness in my walk past their historic roots suggests involvement and action will be natural and forthcoming.