Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


View From A Fallow Wheatfield

Lawrence, Kansas, USA

April 26, 2010



This essay, View From A Fallow Wheatfield, is the prequel to the sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Sophisticated Palate
  2. Open To Everyone
  3. Portal
in that order.

It is the companion piece to It is also the sixth in an open group Visits With A Friend Prequels:
  1. Anticipation: Accounting For An American Love Affair
  2. Eye Of The Needle
  3. Secret Service
  4. Everyone Loves You
  5. Close Up, Face To Face, Larger Than Life, And Twice As Natural
  6. View From A Fallow Wheatfield
  7. Flying
  8. Three Stairs At A Time
  9. Something Fierce, Something Wonderful
  10. Serving High
  11. Simple But Not Easy
  12. A Request Asked Harder
in that order.

I am indebted to Don Cox who inspired this conversation.




Wheatfield With Crows by Vincent van Gogh - July 1890
In these parts today, the sky is big and low  as if a spring storm is either pending or receding - hard to say which. The air, thick and heavy yet scrubbed clean, says something's about to happen.

This is gorgeous driving country. I've got the whole road to myself - not another vehicle in sight. To the left and to the right of me, nothing but wheatfields. I'm traveling east on Interstate 70 from Topeka in a nice new car with very few miles on the odometer. It's incidental what type of car it is. I think it's an Avis. I've got the radio on faintly.

The sign for the Route 59 offramp comes up. Wasn't it Yogi Berra who said "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"?  His unattached way of looking at things suits this leisurely, spontaneous drive to a tee, so even though it's not on my agenda (that is until now)  I turn north off the interstate. Why not? I've got time.

Route 59 is less of an imposition on the environment than Interstate 70. But the ongoing endless wheatfields it passes through don't appear to notice, or care - however it is.

When I reach county road 1045, there's hardly a sign. All it says is "1045", at which point the Avis seems to turn right all by itself  - maybe it too hears Yogi. Nothing but wheatfields. Nothing but fallow  wheatfields. A rich yet stark landscape. The new crop hasn't bloomed yet. The ground is muddy in patches, still soggy from the winter rains, yet everything is obviously carefully maintained nonetheless. Someone, it's clear, is taking good care of this farmland. It's well tended. I can tell (dare I say) it's loved.

A slight breeze blows, rippling the leaves of a few trees. This place defies maps and GPSs. It's undefinable. It could be anywhere. It's also nowhere. This is its charm, its attraction, its allure, its pull. This is its authentic beauty. There's nothing to do here, so that's what I do. I turn off the county road onto an unpaved path, and slowly come to a stop. The sound of tires crunching gravel is barely audible over the radio. I turn off the ignition, and now there's nothing but silence punctuated by a crow or two occasionally caw-cawing.

I get out of the Avis, noticing my automatic tendency to want to lock it, having already closed its windows ... until I chuckle at the thought "Who's going to rob you here, Laurence? A scarecrow?". I leave the Avis unlocked and walk and walk and walk until I'm a distance from it, standing in nothing ie standing in nothing in a wheatfield  observing its fallowness, reveling  in its fallowness. What will become of it, this fallow field? What will it next be?

Standing here in nothing, mirrored in the possibility of a fallow wheatfield, my thoughts turn to being with you again. What will it be like? What will it become? Who will I next be  after being with you again? In anticipation of being with you again I've become like a fallow field. There's no rushing a fallow field. It will be what's next whenever it's what's next. I'm calm and happy, ecstatic actually, inside of this waiting and seeing, letting it be whatever it's going to be which, when I acknowledge the truth of it, is all there is to do anyway. I walk on, even further away from the Avis, following a ploughed furrow, trailing my hands over the remnants of last year's stalks, running my fingers through what is this year's crop yet to come. The evening sun warms my face. My shoes feel the cool soil through their soles. The future is palpable - inevitably assured. I'll always create my future as you.

Today I'm like a fallow Lawrence Kansas wheatfield. Tomorrow I feed the United States and the world.



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