A hill in a cloudless autumn afternoon, filled with prairie grass and juvenile evergreen trees.

Much of the land around these hills has been developed for houses and roads over the last 10-15 years. In my youth, I remember gentle hills in place of cramped, cookie-cutter homes – grass, trees, and sky where there are now chain-link or solid fences blocking all sight. The town that holds this land cannot thrive or sustain itself without attracting new residents, but I feel that both individual and community are better served by not filling every inch of land with lifeless asphalt and substandard housing.

With the constant cycle of construction we live in – buildings rising, being occupied, changing hands, lying empty, etc. – land left as it was long before our arrival is a haven. It is free, while the chaotic sprawl of fences and windowless siding are restrained. It welcomes, while glowing TVs illuminate drawn curtains as a quarantine.

To be fair, I also remember the paved and widened road running through the same area as pothole-studded gravel. Modernizing that road was an obvious benefit to the town as a whole, if one that – in my mind – came at a great cost.

Minolta Maxxum 7
Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8
Kodak Ektar – ISO 100