Saturday, July 25, 2009

Farming The Past

There is just something about farms and country that puts you back in place with reality. If you can slow down enough to listen you can hear the corn stalks rustle, you may even hear them growing. To touch the worn wooden rails of this foot bridge seemed to turn the entire world into sepia tones and overalls. The past seemed to ignore the present and instead it haunted the future. It made me long for a world whose light was already fading when I was only a child.

For a few years when I was quite young we traveled the U.S. back roads and towns. Small towns and farm communities, we stayed in some, just passed through others. We ate in diners and greasy spoons, shopped in five and dimes and mom and pop stores, while I took in Americana from the ground up. I was closer to the ground then. I saw things differently.

I spent a lot of time looking out of the windows as we traveled along. I saw a lot of farms and ranches; I saw old homes that came right out of Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” and a few people who looked like they hadn’t quite yet. In the Midwest the cornfields seemed to engulf the car as we tunneled between the towering green stalks. The big sky of Texas was a landscape unto itself with giant fluffy clouds that looked like ghostly herds of buffalo. All in all I don’t think we missed a single state within the continental U.S. Some we simply passed through and some we lived in for a time. A winter spent on a Reindeer farm in South Dakota, another on a secluded lake in Minnesota, travelled the haunts of Billy the Kid, Jesse James and others. It was America and it was before the world had moved on again.

I developed a deep appreciation for the land, for nature and for straightforward people. My love of these things is not nostalgia for an innocent or carefree childhood. Mine was nothing of the sort. It comes from finding peace and comfort in those things when I needed it most. There is something deeply nourishing that comes from living closer to the land and in rhythm with the earth.

Now don’t get me wrong I love my 4” heels and a shiny fast car to take me where I can happily plunk down $4.50 for a Venti sized latte` no whip. I also like getting the dirt under my fingernails and laying in a field of tall grass with nothing but the sound of cows and blue sky above. I like my swanky art openings, sipping wine and pretending to know what I’m talking about. I also like coming home to house warmed by wood that we cut, hauled and split ourselves. These things keep me grounded and remind me of who I really am. They remind me that I am human, both uniquely fragile and powerful.

All the photos here are my own and from the places I frequent. Surprisingly the shot of the classic pickup was not staged. I just got super lucky! That was one beautiful truck and if I hadn't felt like such a voyeur I might have tried to get a closer shot of it. That cream and golden hay color are my all time favorite.


  1. Thank you for that lovely little trip through the countryside this morning. A really nice way to start the day. You have a wonderful way with words.


  2. I thank you for taking the time to cruise around with me. I seriously have a little romance going on with this country thing. LOL
    That was a very nice comment about my writing. I dearly appreciate it.