Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shorn Fields

July 18
I decided to answer the call of the lovely evening, and go for a little walk. It was about 8:20 or so, and the farm was deserted. I went out past the barn, which was empty, with the fencers clicking away comfortingly, and the dusky manure smell lingering in the air. Then, it was out to the open field, where the breeze carried the definite smell of the dry hay. It seemed to me that the fields were already greening up a little bit after the last cutting of hay. Somehow, when the grass is long, full of birds and bugs and rustling movement, it seems like the field has a life of its own, and keeps to itself, while you watch from the outside. But when it has been mown short, there’s no pretense about it, and instead, there is a feeling of familiarity and fellowship, which was accentuated by the fact that I recognized the dips and contours much better after having raked over them again and again when we were haying. Then, the bumps and craters seemed like jolting little nuisances; now, in the all-forgiving twilight, they seemed more like the warts and wrinkles that we all must bear with in one another. Those fields have seen so much over the years that the family has been on this farm. Men and women have left their blood, sweat, and tears in that soil, and now I’ve added mine too, though in a comparatively trivial measure. I know there’s nothing sacred about the land; it’s just dirt and a lot of rocks. But the lives that have labored together on this land are precious, and so are the memories that have been formed here. I walked down to the edge of the turtle pond field, overheard the birds calling goodnight to each other from their bedchambers in the hedge, then turned around. The tree frogs were creaking out their rhythmic, nonchalant melody, as though to say to the world, “Calm down, everybody. It’s bedtime. You can finish that in the morning.”

1 comment:

  1. Makes me a little homesick, Rachel! Thinking about those who have labored over these beautiful acres. Specifically your Grandpa. I see him now, walking (with ease) out onto the fields to see if the hay was ready for baling. Taking a handful to his face, he'd sniff it, he'd check for dampness, he'd look at the sky checking for clouds. Could we afford to wait another hour?