Thursday, November 24, 2011

Back to the Farm

Several years before my husband died, I found under a stack of paper and bills, a poem torn from a magazine. It described perfectly not only his attitudes about his love of farming, but also the kind of man he was.

It was his daily habit to fix himself a cup of coffee then sit on our verandah facing the rising sun and the pasture in which his dearly loved purebred Holsteins began to stir at first light. He would take those few minutes to sip his coffee, get in tune with his God and gear his heart and mind for the coming day.

The poem begged to have something significant done with it. I found a large sheet of paper and wrote it in calligraphy. The capital letters at the beginning of the title and each verse I made large enough that in the outline I could sketch a picture of that verandah view across the fields--one for each season and one in the moonlight, which he also loved. When I presented the framed poem the next Christmas, he first thought it was coincidence that I used the same poem he had clipped and saved. He was genuinely pleased and truly happy with his gift.

Today, along with Todd Leuty, a Ministry of Agriculture representative, I roamed around the nut plantation my husband had begun and which he had hoped to care for in his retirement years. The trees he planted as little saplings in the mid-nineties, are now thirty or forty feel tall and have begun to yield a harvest. Carpathian Walnuts, Japanese Hart Nuts, Pecans, Almonds, Butternuts and Hazelnuts hold promise of good eating.

The crisp air, beautiful sun, blue sky and refreshing calm of nature brought back to mind the poem that still hangs on my office wall. I have tried to find the author of the poem and have been unable to do so. (If you read it and know who wrote it, please let me know so I can give the author credit and let him or her know how much joy it has brought.)

Grandpa's Farm
Why would anyone live on a farm?
My Grandpa once told me why:
"You wake up at dawn, put the coffee on,
Look out at a bright morning sky.

You start chores early, work hard and long
At planting and milking or such,
But at the day's end, when quiet has come,
You know you've seen God's perfect touch.

You've worked for him as much as for you
To plow his fields and when
You watch the harvest yield its fruit,
You thank him again and again.

A farm may not be the only place
To live, to grow and die--
But," my Grandpa said, "It's the only place
I'd suggest you try."

I had wondered what I would write about for this month's blog, but when I came home I knew I had to tell you how I sensed my husband's presence there in his nut grove and I know I've seen God's perfect touch. I know my husband worked for God as much as he did for himself. He took satisfaction in knowing he was helping to feed the world which is what farmers do. When I see those nut trees yield their fruit, I truly thank God again and again! I give thanks for the privilege of having walked with such a mand for as many years as I did and to know the same God with whom he communed on his beloved farm. I am also glad for the opportunity to walk on a farm and reconnect with the memories, the values and the wisdom I learned there.


Anonymous said...

Nice story. I would love to go pick some of those nuts with you! I have good memories of times with you and family on that farm.

I googled the poem and only this blog came up .. hmmmm

Take care. Emily

Peter Black said...

Ruth, a lovely story indeed, and a very apt poem for your late husband and you -- and all who have ever lived and laboured on a farm.
Hmm, caligraphy and sketching seasonal scenes, eh? Unveiling more or your talents - wonderful!

c van gorkom said...

The Companionship of a man and a woman in marriage. Such a beautiful poem on its own. The way of meld and intertwine, enfold and combine to feed the world with more than food from a farm. Husk and kernal, we need it all and stand wordless, sometimes in tears before its beauty.

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