Nation: The Look of the Land

THE greens, golds, purples and rich browns had never seemed more luxuriant than this fall. They splashed across the plains and hills in patchwork squares and furrowed curlicues. To harvest their bounty, farmers arose at dawn, gulped down hot breakfasts, climbed onto their great machines and roared onto the fields. Hour after hour they worked, often far into the night. Day after day they labored, until the land was cleared of all but stubble. Then they returned to the fields to prepare them for spring sowing.

These were the sights and the sounds—and the...

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