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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pastoral Dreams

What is it about human nature that makes us crave the pastoral setting? The way we manicure our lawns to reflect grazed pastures is the most obvious emulation.  But we also find something seductive in a golden field of wheat and rolling hillsides of livestock.  My heart filled to bursting with love, nostalgia, and dreamy pastoral thoughts when we traveled home to help with the haying.

There have been many homes in my life but there is one Home. And I've never even lived there. Our families farm in Oakland, Oregon has been more constant than any other completely wonderful and stable home I have had in my 33 years.  It is a dreamy pastoral paradise where I have always felt at home.

Bringing in the hay has always been the work of one man, my grandfather.  He has spend most of his life laboring in this place and now that he's in his 80's we've finally realized we need to learn his trade to carry on his work.

The experience of haying on the family farm was perhaps most profound for Jim.  Having grown up in an extremely urban setting in Southern California he has be transported through the years of random encounters and happenstance to sit upon a old Massey Ferguson baling hay on a small family farm in Southern Oregon.
and he was damn goo at it too.

It's hard to express the enchanting feeling I had standing with our son watching him bale the hay while my father and grandfather looked on from their perches on 4-wheelers, and my sister, mother, and grandmother watched over little Lily in the shady backyard of the farm house.  It was all so lovely and natural feeling it is hard not to idealize a place filled so full of loving people and special memories.

There is a lot of joy to be found in the seat of an old tractor
Even when letting my practical side rein and taking my own turn on the tractor the dreaminess of the pastoral setting creeped in when I gazed across the field to spy my son sitting with my grandfather on a bale in the shade.

Liam and his great-grandfather enjoying a shady break

We can be cautioned against idealizing a place all day long, but that may never smother the pastoral dreams it inspires.

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