If you're a baseball fan - especially of a certain age - and live in the U.S., you probably enjoyed the recent game between the White Sox and Yankees staged amid a corn crop at its lofty late-summer peak in Dyersville, Iowa. Adjacent to the park which was constructed for the occasion are the field and farmhouse from the film Field of Dreams, looking now as they did then. The setting was magical. Perfect.
I love that movie. Of course it's about much more than baseball but the game, midwestern setting and Joe Jackson are important to the story. I'm a baseball nut and my ties to and affection for the state of Iowa go way back to when I was a little kid. The fact that the White Sox play a supporting role is the cherry on top.
Two days after the game I watched the movie for the umpteenth time. And wept, naturally. Then I pulled the book from which the film was adapted off the shelf and re-read it. (By the way, W.P. Kinsella, who wrote Shoeless Joe, was an alumnus of the acclaimed Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. My alma mater.)
In it, Doc "Moonlight" Graham talks with Ray about the little Minnesota town in which he settled following his brief baseball career. The conversation also appears in the screenplay.
"This is my favorite place in the whole world," Doc says quietly. "I don't think I have to tell you what that means. You look like the kind of fellow who has a favorite place. Once the land touches you, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for the land like it was your child."
Old Doc has a way with words.
Most of us have emotional attachments to various places, often associated with people or events. But when it comes to a visceral connection to the land itself, do you have a place like that? A place with which you've developed an innate, abiding bond? A place that has become part of you, and you a part of it?
If you do, you know Moonlight Graham was right: when the land reaches out and touches you in such a way, you're never the same.
"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
As a landscape photographer, I've become deeply attached to several places over the years but none has a hold over me like New Hampshire; it grabbed onto my heart and never let go. The photograph below of autumn color near peak was made from the summit of Mount Major. From this vantage point one has tremendous views of large expanses of Lake Winnipesaukee and the southern rim of the White Mountains.
"Is this heaven?"
"I could have sworn this was heaven."
It's New Hampshire.
Above The Big LakeThe landscape is awash in brilliant color at the height of foliage season. From the summit of Mount Major, Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains beyond are visible. (Lakes Region, New Hampshire)
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