It was an overcast day at the end of a very long weekend. Tired and lethargic, going back to the farm – back to the home I grew up in – was not something that I looked forward too. I imagined it under the dull grey skies.
As a kid, it would be my source of refuge on a day like today. With renters inside, it was no refuge, but a longing – a longing for dreams of the past, as well as hope for dreams for the future.
I’d promised to drop off some paperwork for the renters. And a man’s word is his bond, so under the dull grey skies I’d go, making the forty mile trek.
About five miles into the journey, the northern horizon glimmered a lighter blue. By the time I reached the halfway point, the sky was a brilliant, bright blue – the sun was hanging in the western sky. Off to the east, the slight hills rising from the prairie to the famed forests of northern Minnesota shimmered with their ripening fields of wheat.
It was good to be going home.
The fields and the road stretched out in front of me, bringing back memories of times before. Road trips. Community festivals. Sunday afternoons with friends and families on the various farmsteads that I passed by.
The windshield crop tour gave a good indication of the harvest to come. The crops looked good – the corn was straight and tall. The beans were dark green and bushy. The wheat was turning golden in the early August sun.
The home town was quiet. A few cars were sitting on main street. The St. Mike’s playground was filled with families playing in the perfect August weather.
There was something so familiar about it – driving home, back on one mile of tar, the one mile of gravel. The windmill proudly standing tall on the horizon with house, shed, and granary basking in the warm light of the late afternoon sunshine.
Rounding the corner of the cornfield and onto the driveway, it was clear the renters had been at work, with the yard mowed and trimmed. The sights and sounds of the past came flooding back – the fresh cut grass, the smell of corn in summer. I could imagine us five kids doing chores and running through the yard.
One of the renters came out to sign the documents, and as we signed, we talked – about the weather, the crops, the latest gossip.
“So this is your home? You grew up here? He asked.
I recounted the building of the house, the family history, the good times had in the walls.
“This used to be a dairy farm?” he asked. “Where was the barn.”
Soon, we were walking the yard, talking about the buildings that once where the work, the long days, but the joy too.
As an aspiring farmer, the young renter was keen with questions.
With the sun sinking in the west, it was time to go – but the memories, and the clarity of the blue sky in August, will not soon be forgotten.