We own 15 acres. We call it “The Farm.” This is where Sue and I live for now. It’s about 5 miles from the four-lane. It’s fifteen miles from town.
I love the place.
We bought it seven years ago. We wanted a retreat, a place where the kids could come out and play. Where the little ones could enjoy real dirt, fallen leaves, catch lightning bugs and listen to crickets at night.
When I say “the kids” that’s not right. They are our three sons. They’re grown. They have their wives and children of their own. Granddaughters.
Today, the grand-daughters are all out of diapers. The girls are growing faster than the pine trees I planted three years ago. Some of the trees are already so tall I can’t touch their tops.
Someone asked me what we do at “The Farm.” I said we produce a lot of laughter, a million smiles, so much joy we can’t contain it. We grow happiness and we’re making memories.
It’s our happy place and I love it.
We have a crop of lightning bugs, beetles, bugs and toad frogs.
Humming birds come see us twice a year.
Late at night, sitting on the front porch swing, I could hear owls down deep in the woods. I see the deer and turkeys. Every once in a while, a fox and her kits come visit.
Paradise for a Mississippian.
The farm let me buy a tractor. Not just any old tractor, but a wonderful old tractor. It’s a 1968 model. Fifty years old. It’s cantankerous. I think I’m the only one who knows how to crank it. It runs like a top, once you get it running. It will chug along all day on five gallons of gasoline.
Last week, I bush-hogged the waist-high grass in the paddock. That’s when I began to understand man’s love for the land. I have walked over every square inch out here. I have held the dirt in my hands, cut its grass, trimmed its trees. Touched nature up close and personal.
I think the dirt talks to me. I listen to what it says. I know how it feels.
I’ve sat on our porch and watched my planted pine trees grow from 12 inch seedlings to a 10 foot saplings in three years. They will be a forest one day. A forest I planted. You can hear the trees grow after a summer rain. I swear!
I’ve watched the volunteer trees, mostly hardwoods, sprout from acorn and hickory nuts squirrels buried last winter or the winter before.
Every spring, more and more trees emerge from the land. My land, our land. The first year they’re a few inches tall, the next year they’re a foot high. Now, I have a few that are 4 and 5 feet high. If I walked away, surely they would take over.
I like watching the trees grow. They remind me of my grandfather, his land and his trees.
Even if I sell the farm, I can still drive by and look at “my trees.”
I watched the toad frogs and crickets jump out of my path. I saw the snake look one time at my tractor and move to a safe place. And, I watched a baby rabbit hopping out of the way as if it’s life depended on it.
Nature continues, despite man’s attempt to control.
I read that somewhere a long time ago. I’ve learned it in the past few years.
Did I tell you how much I love this place?
Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts. Contact Mike Windham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com. Mike Windham is also the author of “David Earl’s ABC’s, Stories From South of Here.”