For both of us, it was life…winter was barren, stark, blowing snow. It was fun trudging through drifts, sledding, giving the white stuff a good mash….it was hot chocolate with pink cheeks and slowly thawing toes. It was men you didn’t normally see in the grocery store, the churches, the bank–in overalls and boots. Giving you a rusty smile.
Spring was green. Tiny leaves one after the other emerging.. slow wasps dizzily coming to life after winter sapped their strength…and the smell of fresh earth turned by a farmer’s plow.
Summer was rich in color, corn more than knee high, waving in the wind, being pushed around by the wind. Eclipsing even the tallest of us on its way to producing life saving food.
Fall was a golden tawny brown. Crunchy leaves, blowing cornstalks as the pickers cleared the field. Checking the turn-abouts for lost cobs to display as a gleaner’s offering to the hungry birds and squirrels that would surely be coming soon…
and always.. always the talk of rain. Too much rain. Too little rain. Just enough. Some places got it that didn’t need it. Sandbagging. Other places, barren, fields yearning for more. Rain too late in the season, rain on the newly mown hay.
We weren’t farmers. But our lives revolved around the fields and their seasons. It was our landscape. Our ‘birthright’.. it was all we knew. Even now, as trapped as we our in our little valley, we get a waft of freshly pollinating corn and nostalgia is instant and sweet. We frantically hit the ‘recirc’ button in our vehicles when we see the manure spreaders in use–keeps the air going but the smell… out. We nab some field corn from the store, we don’t know anyone close enough to pick up an ear here or there. We feed the animals anyway. We teach our kids by word and deed about sharing the road, being careful of tractors, being patient all throughout the year when equipment is moved, grain is hauled, when inevitably the highway is needed in the harvest process.
We grew up country kids. While we’re not field locked (as both of us were as kids), it isn’t but a mile to the nearest one. They’re on every road we take to get anywhere. They’re what our kids will know. Sure, they’ll know ipads and pizza movie nights, and church festivals… but the sights, the smells, and the enduring talk of rain…. it will be with them, too. We’ll make sure they have the same joy, the same instant feeling of ‘pick me up’ seeing a field waving with corn. They’ll share the road, and they’ll tell their friends to take it easy when they want to be in a hurry, with a tractor going 20 mph. They’ll be country kids, too.