Raking Hay...

I was on my way back to work after a relaxing lunch break. As I made a left turn on Vergennes and headed towards Lowell, I glanced off to my left and a buddy of mine was raking hay in a large 80 acre field. The sun was beating down and the countryside was a vibrant green. The long rows of freshly cut hay were laying uniform on top of the hilly landscape. It was picturesque and I felt drawn to stop and climb on the fender of his large John Deere for a few passes around the idyllic field. I yanked the steering wheel to the right and put the truck in park on the shoulder of the road. I scooted across the highway and ran to catch up to the tractor moving along at 1500 rpm’s, the equivalent of roughly 18 mph. I whistled at my friend and caught his attention. He smirked as he pressed his left foot down on the clutch and pulled down the throttle. I bounced up on the fender and we were off.

We talked about how peaceful it is to rake as opposed to cut because of the lesser of two noise levels. He shared some of the things he was thinking about that ranged from relational to spiritual as we journeyed around the edge of this massive meadow. I love grassland as much woodland. Especially if the terrain is contoured with large mounds of grassy knolls casting agrarian shadows long and thick at the dusk of evening.

He then stopped the green beast and told me to mount the master seat. He gave me a couple pointers like where to line up the tires so that the rake caught the lion share of the hay, where to set the rpm’s to ensure the power take off was spinning fast enough match the speed of the tractor, and how far to overcompensate for the corners so as to no shortcut the rows. I took the wheel for a couple laps loving every minute of being a makeshift farmer. All in all, it was about a 15 minute escape from the trivialities of the 21st century. It was a beautiful transport back into simplicity and serenity. I felt somehow beamed back to the early 20th century where families farmed 80 pieces of property and quite literally lived off the land.

The smell of fresh cut hay mixed with diesel and sweat…the sight of fluffed hay laying in well manicured strips across the rolling hills tucked every so delicately next to dark wooded plots of land…the sound of a diesel engine blending together in harmony with metal on metal noises…these are the sights, sounds and smells of heaven to me.

I dismounted the four-wheel drive monster and ran to see if my truck was stolen, impounded, or ticketed by a local sheriff. Thankfully, it was sitting where I left it safe and sound. Something about the nature of those 20 minutes changed my spirit. I sometimes feel I’ve fallen into the wrong era. My place is far more simple and remote than this epoch allows for. Thankfully, I have a couple places I can go to nurse the lost longings of my generation. The farm is one of those centering places of retreat.


Popular Posts