“Only he can understand what a farm is, what a country is, who shall have sacrificed part of himself to his farm or country, fought to save it, struggled to make it beautiful. Only then will the love of farm or country fill his heart.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)
Fall harvest, for many farmers, is the last lap of an exhausting race that has been run since the early days of spring, when winter's frost has disappeared and specks of green, breaking through the earth, shouted "Go!" to those who work the earth.
When the time came for our corn to be harvested, our school year had already begun. The boys could not disguise their itch to get outside and take in some of the harvest action. So, I threw my schedule and routine and chalk and tiara out the window, piled the babes into the bus and tread down the dusty gravel to the field. Delighted in our decision to abandon school, we forgot to slip on wranglers, work boots and a caps, for one must always dress for the occasion. But, like most things in life, I'm more uptight than they are about things being just right, stars in line, always prepared like a scout.
They just know how to jump in to the day with both feet, and and savor all that life can bring, every step of the way, unconcerned with discomforts and imperfections. Darn kids. They always solve the Rubik's Cube of life before I do. (I'm gonna think about that while I eat another fist full of candy corn.)Life at their level just looks different. They see things that I would never notice. Raccoon tracks and ant hills, a jack rabbit bounding down the narrow lanes. Breaking corn stalks and squishing bugs in the sand is just right for the moment. There are times when moving to the farm has admittedly been extremely difficult. And, all the little broken expectations, stored quietly in my heart, have bled frustration and exhaustion and pain. Then, quite unexpectedly, the wounds are nursed by experiences that bring comfort, peaceful joy, encouragement.Experiences like taking my boys out to a field where they can run free, play, explore, and break into whoops and hollers at the wonder of a mighty, raucous combine eating up the acres, or a sizable semi-truck waiting in the wings to be loaded with freshly cut kernels. They are not confined to the barriers of four walls, the invading grip of techno gadgets and ticking of the clock telling them that it's time to move on to the next best thing. I was free that day to choose this for them. How good it was for their little bodies, their little souls, their little lungs, breathing in the goodness of the farm.
They had no idea that I was actually having more fun than they were, as I watched their every move, their every expression, their every delight. It was good for me too.