the wind ripples its way across the golden sea of wheat. once, as recently as two generations ago, someone would have gazed out on this field, contemplating the parallels between the seasons of a wheat field and the marginally longer seasons of a human life. now, only the black skull-eye windows of an abandoned, rotting farmhouse witness the lifecycle of the wheat. it was cheaper to let the once vibrant dwelling rot than to demolish it, so it, and hundreds like it across the west slowly sink into soil no longer sifted through human hands. occasionally the corporation sends out mechanical drones operated by city humans, insulated from the cycle of life by air-conditioned cabs and stereos blasting hip-hop or country music. they swarm briefly back and forth, tilling, planting, or harvesting, and then leave. no-one hears the wind, no-one smells the rain, no-one sees the birds. no-one holds the earth in their hands and feels the past.