Something has spooked July Montgomery’s cows. As he scans the edges of the hayfield looking for the source of their fear, he reminisces about a morning 20 years earlier when he bought his farm in Words, Wisconsin. After wandering from state to state and job to job, he had hitched a ride in a pickup truck, politely refused the driver’s offer of supper, then camped out at the edge of a field. When he awoke he decided that it was time to quit wandering and stay put:
He had gone as far as he could. His life had grown too thin and he was nearing the end of himself. He was living but didn’t feel alive. He knew no one in the sense of understanding them from the inside—feeling the center of their life—and no one knew him.