Monday, June 27, 2011

Farm Animals, Green Fields and Memories


On my bike rides here lately, I've been seeing a lot of farm animals and country fields. The earthy smell of hay and farm animals (and manure) always take me back to my aunt's place near Somerton, AZ in the late 70's, long before I had ever been to a big city that I could remember, and before I had the opportunity to spend weeks worth of Saturdays in so many fields of every crop under the sun with Doc Tuttle and the 4-H kids, sweeping for insects with our sturdily constructed insect nets and our ever-present cyanide jars (a completely insane accessory from any modern parent's point of view). Her neighbors had a bull that we kids enjoyed being frightened of. 

The smell of green, and of irrigation, the sound of roosters crowing before the sun came up, us children running through the alfalfa and getting green stains on our jeans... Back then, I liked my aunt's place because she usually had the super-sweet, sugary cereals in her cupboards that we didn't often eat at home. The enthusiasm and energy with which she greeted us during our visits always made our time there memorable and fun. Nowadays I remember the solitude of the county, the natural sounds and smells, and the coolness of irrigated fields.

I thought a lot about those early visits to the country today as I was riding on C 1/2 Road in Grand Junction. I saw some horses and about a dozen cows. It was the smell of riding through that area that took me right back, as if no time had passed at all. It felt as if only yesterday I was walking alongside a dirt road, picking out a stem of grass to chew on while watching the neighbors' bull through the fence with a healthy respect and fascination. A dog came running towards me from farther up the road; at first I was worried that it was going to come after me. Once it was clear that the dog posed no threat, I thought about the pair of dogs that shared our lives back in the late 70's, Simon and Sheb, who were brothers. My family had Sheb (for a while) and my aunt had Simon. I'm not sure if we had these dogs when my aunt lived in Somerton or a bit later, but they were a couple of fun dogs in any case. Those were fun days.

The dog that was running straight towards me for a few seconds.
Eventually he turned around and went home.