As summer winds down, I tend to breathe a sigh of relief. There are plenty of good things that happen during the summer, but those commercials that depict glasses of lemonade, sitting on the porch while the birds sing, and long lazy days are not our reality of summer. Our summers consist of pipe moving, extra long days, harvesting hay and grain, and the occasional grumpy child wishing he/she was a city kid with time to waste.
The one thing that is consistent with the summer stereotype, is that we did make it to a family reunion. My mother’s family all got together in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. It was great catching up with the cousins and meeting their families. Funny how after so many years our connections are still so real and, well, necessary.
During our long ride home, with time to ponder family ties and my heritage, I had an interesting revelation. I realized that both sets of my grandparents and also both of my husband’s grandparents were farmers and that on both sides of my family, I am the only one with any kind of tie to agriculture. I find that kind of sad. Farming is hard. Farming is not hugely lucrative. Farming recognizes no holidays, but farming is satisfying in ways that can’t be marked by a calendar or a dollar sign.
Working with nature keeps you connected to your surroundings in an indescribable way. It lends itself to an attitude of awe and wonderment that I am not sure can be found behind a desk chair. We are able to work along side our children, ensuring that they are instilled with a healthy work ethic. And, although, you can’t “leave it at the office”, I am not sure that you would want to. Farming isn’t a career, it’s a lifestyle, because you are living it 24/7.
At times, I do complain. It is hard, but as I look around at the my circle of cousins, I can’t help but feel a little bad that they are missing out on a piece of our heritage that I have the honor of carrying on. So they can have their lemonade on the porch, I’ll take mine out in the field while I wipe the sweat off my brow. Ahhh summer….