Friday, June 4, 2010

I was driving home from town yesterday.
Since we live in an agricultural area, new home construction in the last 10 or so years has greatly increased and farmland has alarmingly decreased as more and more farms have gone up for sale as the farmers retired and their youngsters have decided that farming is not for them.
As I was driving home, I noticed that the first cutting of hay has occurred on one of the farmlands outside of town.
I was overjoyed.

It also brings a certain amount of sadness that the summer, even though it technically still spring, is quickly passing by with that occurrence of the first cutting. (I I get older, it seems like the years passing gets quicker and quicker.)
But in observing that first cut hay field, I can't tell you how sweet that smells.
It is like being in the haymow with all the new 'squares' of hay that were loaded up there. There is nothing else like it. Yes, 'haying' is an itchy, really itchy, hot, dirty job, but when you are done, there is really nothing else like it. The aroma is comforting and sweet smelling.
I remember climbing up into my grandparents large barn and scrambling up the vertical ladder attached to the wall and being in that wonderful sweet smelling world. Grandma was always worried that a bale or two would fall on me and smother me being such a small person. But when it was recently filled, the bales were solid and stacked well. As the season progressed, the stacks might have gotten a little less solid as they were pulled and dropped for the cows to eat or use as bedding for the new calves. I still like to cling to the thought that my no-nonsense grandma would sneak up there occasionally to have a special bit of aromatic peace.
If you were lucky, a momma cat had her babies up there in a special little nest. If you were quiet enough while climbing the ladder, you could hear the babies and pinpoint where they were. Nothing better on a summer afternoon than to be playing with baby kittens in the haymow.
That memory was precipitated by the cutting of a field. Judging by the amount in the ground rows, it was a pretty generous cutting.
I woke up last night and listened to the gentle rain falling and thinking that it was good that the cutting was yesterday or the day before while the cutting was still green. If the cutting had been earlier and the cutting drier, that wouldn't have been good to get rain on it.
I think that dried hay is why I enjoy the fields in winter when there is snow on the fields and you have these beautiful golden stalks above it. It brings back the beauty of all that golden stacks of hay bales in the haymow.
I would like to make a suggestion.....instead of just rushing around from point A to point B, when you can do so safely, slow down a little and observe the country where you are.
Is that a kestrel hawk on that telephone pole?
Are there geese flying around and testing their adolescents how to form a 'v'?
Do you have an area where you have redwing blackbirds nesting? Pull over and listen to their song.
Do you have any farmland near? Take the country side roads instead of the interstate and just leisurely drive along with the windows open to take in the lovely smell of our rural areas. Yes, even manure has a good smell to it when you get receptive to it.
Before I met husband-to-be Bobby, I used to have a boyfriend that had a Harley. On our trips around on Sundays, we seldom took the highways, we used to weave in and out of the countryside. You got the beautiful scents of our wonderful country the best that way. I always appreciated the drive through the country with him.
I am so glad that Bobby loves it as much as I do. He will always point out a hawk or deer or fox or geese flying as we drive our country roads if I should miss it. It is amazing, even in the areas surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul, the abundance of wildlife out there.
Sometime during this summer, take your little ones on a Sunday country drive and see if you can't slow down a little and open the windows and really 'smell' our country. Sometimes if you happen upon a skunk that has unfortunately gotten hit by a car, the smell is pungent, but really not so bad. But the smell of earth and growing things is the best. It is like going into a greenhouse in the dead of winter. Nothing else like it.
I hope, even if you haven't any little ones anymore, that you give yourself that gift of driving around farmland and slowing down. I guarantee that gift will be a treasure. Stop in a small town and see if you can't have a burger and an iced tea or malt or shake at one of the little cafes there. Or try one of their specials of the day.
Build up your your own memory to treasure when you need to pull it out on a particularly bad day. And the best tip, take a special journal along, stop every once in a while and write down what you smelled, saw, and enjoyed. One of the cheapest, most durable and yet nicest journals to buy is one of those black and white print-covered notebooks you can get at Walmart, Target and just about anywhere. They are found in the shool supplies department. Leave it in your vehicle with a pen clipped to it.
You are ready to record the treasures of your life as you pass through it.
Sometimes we forget to give ourselves a gift. We need to be mentally and spiritually healthy to be able to give continually to others. This will do so.
Huggs, and enjoy.

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