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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

Hoosier Landscape in Snow

Winter has seen fit to descend finally and the last days have been bitter cold and snow covered, nothing like the northeast I know. But this is southern Indiana and a few inches here feel like at least ten did when I lived in Buffalo many years ago. Perspective shifts reality.

Well sometimes. Take the field across from my home. I live at the end of a long dead end drive. In summer we can’t see any other homes, in winter I can glimpse two houses across the ravine. For 15 years that field was an empty field, I looked at it everyday, walked its perimeter often. it wasn’t mine but it was in my view.

Five years ago the neighbor, who doesn’t live there but owns the land, ripped down the old red barn that sat at the edge of the clearing. He hauled a truck, a camper, and an old boat into the middle. I miss the banging on the old barn door in the wind and the calls of the owl whose home it truly was and I miss the emptiness.

For a year or so I assumed he would move the stuff back. For another two years I plotted on a daily basis all the ways I could make it disappear. I stopped walking the field and learned to divert my view down the front drive, or to the edge of the pond. For the last year I have tried to teach myself not to see what I know is there. It hasn’t really worked. My husband and a few friends tell me it is a perfect Hoosier landscape, the mix of beauty and rusted discard. I can’t get there.

I can’t shift what I see, only the perspective I see it from. Today’s blowing snow has obscured it from view. I like not seeing it there. I like it just being gone. I’m going back to plotting how I can make it disappear.

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