There she was…in all of her former glory….
She sat quietly against the old bleached wooden building, and just waited. A tractor whose best days had perhaps come and gone. I wondered at the fields she had crossed, at the pungent dirt clods that had become stuck within her treads.
These old farm buildings just truly speak to me. The way that they weather, and even though they can appear frail, and perhaps ready to fall, they are far sturdier than they seem. Such as it is with with we humans.
From our outward facade we can also appear to be weathered and worn. In fact we are…we are fallible..we are dependent. We fall down, we hurt, and we yield to temptation…..we end up looking like scarred barn board…and yet…with a can of paint, and some elbow grease, the old can be revived, and rekindled….given fresh life.
To throw, or to not throw away..this becomes the question? Does the new “patina” that shows itself in dark spots, or age marks end up being something to “fix,” to “refresh?” Our skin surely changes as we grow, and the glow we once had can seem to diminish.
But is this really truth? Do we really see ourselves for as we are, or are we glancing at ourselves so often through the jagged view from our peers, or perhaps even, at times, our loved ones?
Riding along in a big dump truck with my dear compadre, Kathy, the deep, dank smell of fresh earth lung to our nostrils. The day was clear, and the air was mild, and the hum of tractors, trucks, and machinery filled the fields.
This was harvest time. The glorious Idaho spuds were already safely out of their dusty home, and stored within sheds, but now was the time of the sugar beets. I had always thought that sugar beets were the kinds that came in a can, with a purple red hue that I found great delight in. One bite of these roots in their pickling juice sent my glands to Never Never Land. A love affair with the taste of beets is shared by some, but for those that dislike them….they well..um abhor them.. It’s a love/hate thing.
I was about to learn a thing or three out on this field with my friend. Who knew these beets were for sugar! Perfect!…sign me up…sugar is good stuff..
As we jostled along in our big truck I was so impressed with my friend and how well she maneuvered this massive vehicle. She was a real pro, and I was seriously so proud of her. We only got stuck one time, and she lept out of the cab, and down in front to attach a chain from the tractor who would pull us out of the mud. I hadn’t had this much excitement in some time. We giggled as we were yanked out of the dirt, and she remarked that I was getting to see all aspects of the harvest process.. I was enchanted. She was living this, and had been a part of this harvest of the land for over 25 years.
When we pulled up onto the weigh scale before unloading her beets onto the pyramid pile on the ground, I told her she be maybe a little off with her beet count since I was now “weighing in ” on the load…. Yes..every womans’ nightmare!…the mighty scale. We will run, we will hide, and yes, we will do just about anything not to be weighhed…oh wait, maybe that’s just me!
It was pure fun to ride along with her, and have deep conversations, and lots of laughter…such a gift. Of course the visit to the “porta potty” is always a must. She explained to me that one had tipped over while she was in it…ok….so not on the “bucket list!”
There was even a Grandma or two “driving truck” out on the open prairie…so impressive, how folks work together for the common good. A few kiddos were riding shotgun up in the big cab of the trucks looking so pleased with themselves, and why wouldn’t they be? They were wearing little black rubber boots, and I was instantly nostalgic for when my boys lived in their rubber boots……yikes, but time goes by quickly!…Oh those darn stinky rubber boots….such treasures that held precious little toes…and who can resist the dear little pigtails on this wee girl…really……I have no words…just beauty…
Oh the brilliant beauty of little ones, so untainted by life, just enjoying tromping through the dirt. Such pure delight in the simplest pleasures that they find their little feet in….no worries….no sorrow….just adventure.
A time to plant, watch the seeds grow, then, a time to harvest. It’s the intrinsic cycle of the seasons, and of our lives it seems.
Being out on the prairies with Kathy was so reminiscent of times spent in my youth out on the farm in Sakatchewan. There was always things going on at the farm, things growing, tractors breaking, and the close knit times spent together with family, just enjoying hallowed time that was dear to our hearts. Family…complicated…but at its root, it’s where we came from, all of us, good or bad, this defines who we are…whether we choose to like it or not.
Hanging out on the farm, just breathing the scent of land and leaves, of sun and sky….is absolutely intoxicating in its simplicity and in its grandeur. This is a pure form of life, and this is after all….our food, our sustenance…our very being. We need these farms, these families..this is where we came from, who we are….oh let us not forget our heritage. It is our breath, our being, and it matters, so incredibly much, this indeed, is our birthplace.
The potato shed..the scent…the pungent aroma fills up my senses…and it’s a glorious smell, of raw potatoes..it’s earthy …it is grand….and how can I cook one up, and just enjoy it fully with butter and cracked salt and pepper, with perhaps a dollup of sour cream, and of course bacon bits…and maybe some chives, and sprinkles of hot peppered flakes..wait… There is just so many ways to enjoy…..but I digress…as par usual…dreaming of baked potatoes from the Idaho fields…oh my…I must be hungry.
Lets just be clear..Potaoes anyway you cook em up, are truly the most beautiful comfort food ever…mashed, baked, fried…it does not matter…I love you potatoes…and there are multiple inventive ways that we can cook you. You may be the perfect go-to food for when one is sad, depressed or happy…How versatile it is …this root from the ground…all in all…… Give proper homage to the potato….she rules!
The simplicity of life here just kinda overwhelms….and yet the intrinsic beauty that surrounds just staggers the senses.
It could be that because I don’t live here…I’m seeing things that residents take for granted , and I suppose that is quite natural when you choose to visit a place, but truly, the calm of this spot captivates my being…..
The calm…I’snt that what we all seek..what we strive for, whether we know it, or choose to acknowledge it…it’s there…”sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…”…John Denver…..
There it is…the sunshine..the just being in a place..” the serenity of a pure blue mountain lake.” (John Denver). Just chalk it up to today..its 75 out, and the colors of Autumn are surrounding…it’s the last kick off before the winter winds come calling…
We did it…we enjoyed…there was friendship, there was community…and there is gratitude that there was this time together. These moments when we connect to another fellow human being are the richest blessings in this life…May we not take them for granted…may we see them for what they are…miracles…and thank you..to the giver….
2 thoughts on “The Harvest…..”
Loved your story about your experience in the potato fields.
Thanx Mum…love you so much.. So many memories of time spent on Claremont Farm too….such a delightful childhood you and Dad provided for us…we are so blessed to have had you and Dad as our parents…thank u…xo