I was born in a city and for the most part lived and worked in urban environments. Once in a while, my closest encounter with nature was to spot a scraggly sprout of grass trespassing in one of the pavement cracks.
On vacations, the states in New England exchanged sights of spiking tall buildings with miles of continuous mountains. Tours of the savannahs in the eastern coastal states swapped wide fields of grass for the sample size lawns of suburban life back home. I loved the variety each offered.
I was not prepared nor even knew what to expect of the rice paddies in Asia. Other places may share the hypnotic green color of the young and maturing rice, but I have not been to those places to see it.
I took a six hour bus ride from Bangkok to Surin. Fields of rice grew within miles of the Surin business center. My destination was an area about an hour away.
The only rice I saw before my visit was already steamed or fried. I learned a great deal on my first walk through the land. The length of the grass first caught my attention. I focused on the narrow view to absorb the transformation this plant takes en route from seed to market.
But the hypnotic effect, at least for me, was when I raised my eyes to take in the wide-angle view of the glowing green fields. There is stillness and a beauty as magnificent as some of the paintings I have paused before in New York museums. Each blade of grass was a brushstroke that merged on this Thailand canvas. I even thought I saw a trace of Van Gogh in some of the paddies’ galleries.
I am drawn to the fields as much as I am to the city where I live.