From the land

My father was a sugar beet farmer in Colorado, a fact which sculpts my thinking more now than it did when I was hoeing weeds in eternally-long fields as a teenager.

Where once a farm was 80 or 160 acres, now they need to be well over 1000 acres or the farmer will go broke. That logically means there a lot less farmers – and even less family farms.

What are we losing as the family farm becomes a blip of historical nostalgia?

  • Fewer people know where milk or eggs come from. The correct answer is not Safeway or Walmart.
  • Not so many get to see the magnificent thunderclouds, roiling in purples and blacks, marching toward the tender crops. Although there’s fear that a hailstorm could devastate this year’s crop – and income – we participate in the circle of life as those storms approach.
  • We’ve lost the appreciation for smells. We demand sweet scents or nothing at all. But I’ve experienced the fresh scent of rain and the sharp slap of animal remains. Why do we shrink from authentic sensory experiences?
  • The rhythms of life – which include death – are more readily seen on the farm. I have experienced loss – of a favorite dog, a 4-H cow, a baby lamb. The sting of loss never gets easier but I’m glad that I’m not numb to it.
  • I’ve heard corn grow, the pops of expansion as the leaves stretch out toward the sky.
  • I’ve seen the stages of soil, from slimy mud to sun-parched jigsaw pieces. I know the rain will come. Someday. And I know the snows are followed by seeds punched into the ground, soon to emerge in a green fringe across the landscape.

I could go on but my understanding – and the way I write – has been molded by the seasons and the rawness of senses. I am born of the land, walking a unique path. And I love it.


5 thoughts on “From the land

  1. Loved reading this, Kathy! Especially liked the part of hearing corn grow and watching the thunderclouds roil across the fields.

    When life presses in on me I like taking drives. Sometimes I go through the city; however, my favorite drives are in the country where I can roll down my windows, smell the alfalfa, and listen to the peacefulness. I jump off on side roads and see where they take me. Sometimes I pull into small towns and sit, just to enjoy their simplicity. We need more remembrances like the one you posted. Of simpler days gone by. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I remember riding with you in the cab of a truck hauling sugar beets to a . . . was it a sugar mill? And I’ll never forget the supposedly docile “calf” that took off running when I was supposed to be holding onto him. Fun memories! Thanks for sharing the farm experience with a girl from town.


    • Oh, my, yes, what memories! We were taking sugar beets to the beet dump where they were unloaded from the truck and placed on railroad cars to be transported to the factory. And I remember that silly calf. More, I remember the look on your face as the rope began to unravel. Farm life in like none other.


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