Saturday, October 17, 2020

Because we are farm children

 Why do we hear the robin sing? Why do we lie upon the grass and look at the clouds? Why do we close our eyes and feel the wind kiss our cheeks and ruffle our hair and know that there is indeed a God? Why? Because we are farm kids: We are kids who are blessed with animals in the backyard. Warm eggs beneath an old hen. Turtles in the creek. Red-winged blackbirds, sitting above their nests in the harvested wheat field. Cows mooing, chickens clucking, sheep bassing and somewhere, always a dog barking. Farm kids. The luckiest kids in the world.

I laid back on the hill overlooking the field and creek bottom. I could smell the damp laundry flapping overhead on the clothesline. A dog? No, maybe a face. The clouds gave me a new vision with each wave of movement. Wave. What an apt name for the sky. The waves float and move like tides upon the sea. They grow dark and mysterious bringing feelings of impending doom. An ocean in the sky. A sky full of mystery.

Shhhhhh. Listen. Somewhere a buggy is pulled down the road by a fine old racehorse. The woman in a bonnet and the bearded man in a black coat and hat. Clip clop, clip-clop. The sound lulls my heart into musical rhythm. A rhythm of my neighborhood. The sound of quiet peace. Shhhhhh. Don't disturb the moment. It is captured in the folds of my mind where senses and sights make the me I am today. The child I was yesterday. Sweet treats like a cool drink of water on a hot day. A drink from an old thermos sitting in the field all day, waiting to quench a thirst gained from hot fields in the summertime. 

The old houses creak with the memories of us and all who came before. Small rooms with no closets. Old cabinets full of chipped and worn dishes. An old musty backroom where canning and soap making were yearly events. An old outhouse stands behind the old garage. A three-holer full of the family's discards. Damp toilet paper is all there is on a rainy day. A few silverfish walk along the boards. I pay them no mind. I'm busy elsewhere.

The tractor comes to the barn, and dinner is on the table. Soapy hands and the smell of grain and sweat. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn. Familiar foods that are as welcomed as the sun on a rainy day. Fruit cocktail again sits on the table. Again, I pass it along. A family on colorful vinyl chairs at an old grey laminated table. Love sitting with a family after a day of hard work in the field.

Why do we hear the robin sing? Peace fills the air in sights, sounds and scents on the farm. They might not all be pleasant, but they are indeed part of the way of life. Sweet robin, sing your song. Sing of me as a child savoring the life I lead. Sing for the past I cherish. Sing for the memories some of us share. Some of us who are indeed farm children still.