Corn. As far as the eye can see. Minnesota is corn. With some soybean in between. Does your society live of nothing else than corn?
Wait, did I just say corn fields ‘as far as the eye can see’? In Minnesota there are at least some farmhouses surrounded by wood lots that brake up the monotony of the landscape. In South Dakota there are only fields. Fields of corn, wheat, some soy, pastures & hay fields. Literally as far as the eye can see. And as there are no hills or mountains to obscure the view, this means probably close to 100km in every direction. But where do the people live who farm these lands? There are almost no farmhouses or villages to be seen anywhere. Just gigantic tractors driving through gigantic wheat fields with gigantic clouds of wheat dust in their wake. The most entertaining part of the landscape are the huge billboards lining the highway, luring you to visit Wall Drug (“a national treasure”) or telling you that “For everything that is wrong, Jesus is right”.
But wait. We are crossing the Missouri river. Did I just really just say ‘as far as the eye can see’? I have to be careful with my words, otherwise none will be left to describe the really grand things. The boring farming country is suddenly replaced by something entirely different. This landscape takes the breath out of you. It is difficult to describe the effect, as the individual elements by themselves do not appear that special. Just dry grassland. Everywhere. But the combination of grasslands and nothing but grasslands stretching until the horizon creates a similar feeling as standing on top of a mountain. Not that I ever stood on a mountain myself but I have stood on mountain passes & I’ve heard my passengers tell about this experience that, from what I understand & imagine, is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. You feel your own insignificance & smallness. And you can only marvel at this big & wonderful world. It is epic & majestic. Standing in the middle of these grasslands, where the hot wind makes the grasses dance & where the sky appears like just a slightly different continuation of the earth, the horizon a subtle line dividing two different phases of the same solution.