Saturday, August 29, 2015
Hay And Love
How different the times and seasons are when you spend a lot of your summer preparing for fall and winter rather than looking ahead to the next vacation or the start of the Christmas shopping season. The rhythms of the seasons in the Midwest are very meaningful for those of us who grew up here and choose to live here and it always brings back memories. For me the smell of freshly mowed hay means more than feed for our livestock this winter, it takes me back to my younger days when I was an insufferable kid dating the woman who would be my wife.
Part of the process of courting my wife included helping with the hay when her dad cut it back when his health was better. That was not much fun because the bales were bound with wire making it possible to make them much heavier than hay bales bound with twine. Some of the bales weighed more than half of what I did back then. Plus I didn't really know what I was doing which made me feel awkward, something I hate. To top it off my wife's brother would toss bales like he was playing corn-hole, which is made easier by him being a giant who was immensely strong. I was pretty strong for a 125 pound kid but each bale was a major effort. Lifting weights in the gym is not quite the same as using your whole body to manhandle a bale of hay.
When I was living in those days of sweating, sore backs and arms that looked like a herd of cats had used them for a scratching post it wasn't much fun but looking back it was all well worth the effort and irritation. I am not sure her dad ever thought I would amount to much but I have to believe it earned me some grudging respect to go toe to toe with the hay bales.
My ungrateful and vain younger self would be shocked and disappointed at how we choose to live but I look around at my family and especially my wife when I see hay being made and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.