That was a day of delight and wonder.
While lying the shade of the maple trees under—
He felt the soft breeze at its frolicksome play;
He smelled the sweet odor of newly mown hay.
—Thomas Dunn English
Windows down, sunlight shining overhead, the road stretching before me. It was Memorial Day weekend, but out here, there were no crowds, no traffic to speak of. Just an occasional truck, one huge tractor, two Amish wagons that might have been a mirage (they were so unexpected), and a skinny raccoon staring me down from the center line. (I went around him.)
I was driving from Farmville, VA, a small town with lots to offer, to my aunt’s house in the country 45 minutes away. Not surprisingly, given the name Farmville, I passed field after field dotted with huge rolls of hay so freshly-mown that they were still green.
Growing up in the suburbs, I don’t remember seeing a lot of hay bales. I’m pretty sure none of them were green.
As I drove, I thought about the farmers who work hard to provide food for the world, for their families and their animals. I caught glimpses of farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings in the distance and wondered what the lives of the people inside were like. From what I’ve heard, their lives are hard work, long hours, and sacrifice.
Seeing these farms made me think of their counterparts in the flood zone up and down the Mississippi River. For those farmers in the Midwest, their livelihood, a challenge most years I understand, is severely threatened this year. The rain so desperately needed for crops to grow is threatening them before they can take root—or maybe before they’re even planted. Regardless of whether we live near the flooding ourselves, we will feel its effects--at the grocery store and in our wallets.
Passing these Virginia farms on such a gorgeous day, I had to stop. I pulled over into a narrow lane that divided two fields scattered with hay bales and stepped out. A gentle breeze ruffled my hair and my shirt. Inhaling, I focused on the moment: the blue sky above, the green fields before me, and the breeze on my skin.
I felt gratitude for farmers who toil in good years and bad and to God, the giver of all good things, who makes crops grow. And I was grateful for this moment in time--a “day of delight and wonder” when I could enjoy the beauty around me with fresh eyes and, now, a new perspective.
Have you ever been driving in a new area when you saw something that made you pull over? What was it? Tell me in the comments below.
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