THE FEWKESES IN CLOVER AT BLUE-GRASS MANOR
Iowa lived in the future in those days. It was a land of poverty and privations and small things, but a land of dreams. We shivered in the winter storms, and dreamed; we plowed and sowed and garnered in; but the great things, the happy things, were our dreams and visions. We felt that we were plowing the field of destiny and sowing for the harvest of history; but we scarcely thought it. The power that went out of us as we scored that wonderful prairie sod and built those puny towns was the same power that nerved the heart of those who planted Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Virginia, the power that has thrilled the world whenever the white man has gone forth to put a realm under his feet.
Our harvest of that day seems pitifully small as I sit on my veranda and look at my barns and silos, and see the straight rows of corn leaning like the characters of God’s handwriting across the broad intervale of Vandemark’s Folly flat, sloping to the loving pressure of the steady warm west wind of Iowa, and clapping a million dark green hands in acclamation of the full tide of life sucked up from the richest breast that Mother Earth in all her bountiful curves turns to the lips of her offspring. But all our children for all future generations shall help to put the harvests of those days into the barns and silos of the future state. God save it from the mildews of monopoly and tyranny, and the Red rot of insurrection and from repression’s explosions!
We were children, most of those of whom I have been writing. It was a baby county, a baby state, and Vandemark Township was still struggling up toward birth. “The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts”: but after all they are only the stirrings of the event in the womb of life. I would not have married Virginia on the day after the party at Governor Wade’s if she had in some way conveyed to me that she wanted me. I should not have dared; for I was a child. I suppose that Magnus would have taken Rowena Fewkes in a minute, for he was older; but I don’t know. It takes a Norwegian or a Swede a long time to get ripe.