On Memories of a Farming Field

Those places. Memories from childhood. A quick remembrance of something that occurred ten years, thirty years, fifty years ago.

A flash. Of memory. Caused by smell.


The smell of alfalfa in the morning dew. The rise of dust as we drive down the dirt road passing those fields of alfalfa. The smell is green. Earthy. Wet in the way the cold morning will soon give way to sun and heat and dust. But right then. Cold. Shivering cold where it dropped into the 30s despite the July date.

Should there be a lesson here. In this memory?

Another one, pulling up on the heels of that one. Dark skies in the north. Storms on the way. A flash of lightening against a deeply blue-gray sky. It’s still. Always still before the wind starts, pushing across those fields, the crops bowing down, acquiescing against a bigger, more powerful form of nature.

Myself, standing very still in the middle of the dirt road, regarding the storm that has not yet arrived but will arrive with a swoop of wind and the first large plops of rain. Those first plops will hit the dirt of the road, causing little poofs of dust.



And then the downpour. A deluge. A curtain of water.

The storm upon me in the middle of that field, standing on that lone dirt road.

I would walk through the woods of my childhood. Five acres of woods. Five acres of field. I would find the animal paths, or pretend they were there. I came across a porcupine once. My childhood dog got quills in his muzzle and my grandmother had to pull them free.

The yelp of each quill coming free.

I was not scared of the porcupine. I did feel sorry for my dog’s pain and I stayed with her as the procedure progressed to a quill-free ending.

Memories. Pieces of childhood. We have them. And we wonder if they mean something. Should we examine the storm? The dust? The sharp scent of pine as a hot day moves on?

The swirl of of a lazy afternoon spent on the porch with a book.

Or should we leave them. That house. That dirt road. Those woods and that field. They no longer exist in the way my memory constructs them. There are more houses along the road. Someone else lives in that white house with the green trim I called home.

The porch is no longer available for long afternoons in the summer.

And maybe that is the thought. The transitional nature of everything. The moment is now and then it moves on to something else. Always moving on. A memory made instantly. And then moving on.

Or perhaps it is about the feeling. The thought that connects us to some time in the past that needs to be remembered in some capacity.

The thought of an alfalfa field. The smell of it. Earthy and green. A light blue sky awash in sunlight. Dust rising with each step as I walk down the long dirt road.

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