Images from a Train: Silos


Silos of the Heartland: Photos by Noelle

Silos of the Heartland: Photos by Noelle


Worlds great and small rise and decay along the tracks. Underbellies of mediocre villages and hard edges of factories share the same trail. Worn and haggard becomes beautiful, in a countryside of weathered barns, while never enticing anyone closer. Haunting are silos abandoned while compelling to even the dullest mind to look more closely.

Heather and golden rod litter the edges of hundreds of fields, rich in the green of cornstalks and soy. Yellow are the elder stalks from earlier harvests ready for the straw-men of autumn, while bales for the harvested fields already line the lanes. The clacking of the train cars shifts as the train makes its turn heading north past the width of the Great Mississippi. Muddy spillage pours from drains as the floods of summer still fill its low banks. Barges and small crafts pass beneath the train bridge on their way to the deltas of Louisiana.

Ancient seems this story of fields and metal, floods and drought. Harvests come in that stave off the bankers and pays for the baler before summer’s out. Corn packs the pickups and soy to the moored barges to the south. An endless cycle of life and movement from field to mouth.

8 thoughts on “Images from a Train: Silos

    • I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t figure out how to do those collages of photos you do. I can only seem to load them one at a time or in a series like this. Not all blocked out on a single page. How do you do it?

      • oh god don’t be embarrassed
        open dashboard on the left side is menu find >settings under settings you have >media – in there find >Tiled Galleries then mark this with a thick – Display all your gallery pictures in a cool mosaic.If you want carousel to open them bigger put a thick under >Enable carousel then press save changes button on the bottom. When you have done that and you are puttin a new post > under -title field press button >add media drag an drop photos then in the left upper part of pop up window is>create gallery press it then in the the bottom right corner press >create a new gallery, then on the same place press >insert gallery .That should be it, you can hit publish. if it doesn’t work maybe your theme doesn’t support that

  1. Because I was in charge of grain business at a trading company in 1980’s, these contents and photos were very familiar to me even though I’ve never been to Great Plains. The words like silos and barges reminds me of my first job such as the wheat and barley tender to Food Agency, the vessel chartering, the risk hedge at the future markets in Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas, the observation of discharging wheat and barley by unloaders from vessels to silos and the meeting with captains at ports, my business trip to Lesotho and Haiti regarding the government food aid business and so on. I still remember the varieties of wheat (western white for cakes, dark northern spring for bread, semi-hard for noodles…etc.) I feel a little sorrow to see your photos because they look the ghost town.

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