Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Piece of Land

A piece of land. A place to build a home, to get a new start. A piece of land where a family could grow food, could raise children, could feed livestock. A piece of land.

Wagon trains carried pioneers across the land to a new paradise of free land. They lived for their land and died for their land. They tried to survive pests, drought and floods. Wars were fought over possession of land, water rights and access. Land.

Only farmers can appreciate the full value of owning land, the soil. The toil it takes to raise crops, the struggles against nature, the losses and the successes. The farmer owns the land, and the land owns the farmer. It is a bond that forms from sweat and tears from sacrifice and victory. My father was as much a part of the earth as he was of those who stood on it. In fact, I think Dad always had an earthy scent about him that was indeed that farm on Neff Road.

Non-farmers cannot possibly understand what it is to be raised on a farm, part of a farm family. Our hands were daily toiling in the soil, for the soil, and even with that which was grown in the soil. Our chickens pecked at the dirt in the chicken yard while the cows and sheep grazed in the grass. Our bounty was in the rich, black soil of Darke County.

I wish there was a way to express that love farm families have for their lands. I wish there was a way to implant that feeling into everyone. Perhaps all would cherish the earth a bit more. Perhaps everyone would do whatever it takes to protect the earth.

I am a child of this rich soil. I am a child who carried the rocks to clear the fields, who hoed the weeds, planted the plants and helped reap the crops. My roots are strong buried deep in the farm soil back the lane on Neff Road. They reach all the way to Oregon.

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