The rural midwest is my culture. As I grew up, took on internships, and lived in cities and small towns both, I grew to be jealous of those with identifiable cultural backgrounds, with traditions and foods and identifiable markers of where they came from. As a European mutt, neither side of my family celebrated any particular cultural heritage, and that used to make me feel like I was missing something. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I do have a place I am from, a home I carry with me, and it is fields like these I passed in northern Illinois, coming back from my grandparents’ family farm in Iowa, where my husband and I had just watched my grandmother ride in a float for her 65th high school reunion during the town’s annual Western Days. Some days I may lament how flat it is, the lack of apparent diversity in flora and fauna, how uninteresting the people can seem. But those are the days I’m not looking closely enough. Fields of corn and beans, silos like city skylines, lilies in the ditches and a sky-wide view of the summer rainstorm rolling in – the midwest will always be home.
Genna Souffle is a photo editor at the Tribune Content Agency in Chicago. A recent transplant to the city, she loves returning to her roots whenever possible, whether the visits are virtual through photography or in the occasional trip back home.