In my pajamas, since I forgot to get around to getting dressed. And they were much cooler than regular clothes, anyway.
I thought I might take the tractor around the field a time or two, then get back to the house to work on the inside.
But I got sucked in.
There is nothing like the satisfaction of cutting a big field of grass. Whisk, whisk, whisk, the thigh high grasses fall down in symmetry.
The noise of the diesel drowned out most other noises, so I was left alone with my thoughts. Clouds of dragon flies and damsel flies darted around the creek bank. Birds darted hither and yonder in the ever widening path of exposed seeds and bugs. I saw several varieties of butterflies enjoying their mid-morning snack. Wild day lilies decorate the verdant steam.
These fields are filled with so many memories.
I remember the time we cut part of the field with the bush hog, then raked up hay like russian peasants, just for the experience. It was wonderful. So peaceful and quiet, as we worked in unison, all the family lined up with rakes in the cool evening air, Nora and Rose laughing and playing in the creek. That hay was the best quality of hay we ever harvested, but oh, how hard to figure out how to get it up into the loft!
I remember many times we were loading bales of hay with friends, working by moonlight, trying to beat the rain. The mingled smell of sweat and clover and fescue, the taste of dust and salt.
I suppose some of you must get exasperated with my sentimental dribble, but here I am, a sentimental dribble!
I was having a great time, mowing that field when all of a sudden I was gripped with sobs. Sad that I probably won't be mowing that field ever again. It wasn't a desperate sad. I am getting quite excited about the big move and our new life. But the grief and the loss of all of this life, here, our friends, our dreams and visions, is a very real thing, so I try to allow myself the freedom to sob for a minute or two if necessary.
Then Patrick came out to the pasture wondering if I would like to trade places with him, taking over his job of painting the deck.
I smirked indulgently to myself, enjoying my seniority on the tractor, knowing that Patrick would get his turn soon enough, as we have MANY more acres to be mowed.
I guess I should have let him have his turn because a few minutes later, dear friend Lynne and her mom (visiting from Florida) drove up the driveway. I sheepishly greeted them, sweaty off the tractor, still clad in pajamas at noon! But they didn't mind, since I gave them fresh cherries and goat cheese and green tea.
The rest of the day I spent indoors packing up boxes of photos. Talk about sentimental... I was glad to be able to smile at many of the memories, camping out with Philip during our dating years. Our wedding and honeymoon, newborn babies, time in Japan, trips to many other states and countries. So much. I threw out the 50 pounds of negatives we will never ever need. The envelopes which encased so many memories. I thought I might place those photos in albums, but I didn't. I stuck them in liquor boxes, taped them up and didn't cry once. But I sort of wanted to. Taping up many other chapters of our life as I worked on wrapping up the current one.
The kids enjoyed their summer day. They played volleyball, they played in the garden hose, they played games and ate watermelon and baked cookies and folded clothes and carried boxes and washed dishes and gathered eggs and played in the barn and chased goats. It was terribly hot, but they found ways to manage. And Patrick got his turn on the tractor and finished up that bottom field. It smells so sweet!
I didn't have it in me to cook a real meal, so I took one of Mike Guzo's freedom ranger chickens (a special breed of chicken) and seasoned it up, put it in a 475 degree oven and pulled it out when golden brown. We got out paper plates, carrots, fresh red pepper and ranch dressing, and ate our dinner standing up around the kitchen.
Oh, how I wish everyone of my readers had a chance to eat a real, home grown, free-range, happy chicken. There is not much in life more satisfying, when you are hungry, anyway.
I am sitting outside on my front porch, listening to the peepers and other evening sounds. The first whipporwill is singing down the road! Crickets are chirping, the tree frogs are twirring. Evening birds are calling. A car in the distance heads home. Ribeye munches grass and occasionally snorts. Ducks waddle up, continuing their quacky conversation. Nora turns the pages of her book as she reads in the dying light, sitting near me on the porch. Portia calls to her kids, time for bed. Guineas settle down. Ewe baas.
And the whipporwill calls out. And I feel loved.