March 12, 2003

Field of Dreams

image copyright Fred First

Four years ago, March, the old field across from the house was choked with 13-year-old White Pine trees. (You can count the number of whorls of brances and age them in this way.) They had been planted, we were told, to harvest as Christmas trees. Paid for 'by the tree' they were planted way too close together, then neglected and grown tall and spindly in long dreary rows. Each anemic tree wore bare branches almost to the top, starved of light by its nearest neighbors. Rank and file, they grew in monotonous congestion on the only level land in this small mountain valley within our boundaries.

Three years ago, March, the neighbors with the backhoe began the tedious process of pushing the pine treelets over in the sandy bottomland. Twenty feet high, they would soon be too dense and heavy to deal with if we didn't go ahead and remove them. Through the spring and into the summer, as we accumulated little bits of 'extra money', they'd come and doze, then burn another acre when they were brittle and dry. By the fall, the 'pasture' was a rough and bare muddy plane, but we imagined it green and inviting, someday. In October, we bought 300 pounds of rye and scattered it by hand on a cold day, in a strong wind, across the six acres and waited for the rains to come.

The next March, two years ago, the rye came up ever so slowly from the cold ground. Then, with the warm days of May and June, it surged up chest high and our muddy flat began to look like a pasture. In July, the deer at dusk walked into the standing grain, higher than my head, and disappeared into the mist that settled into the valley.

A year ago this month, our neighbor came and put down lime. In May, he broadcast a pasture mix of several grasses and clover, and cut seventeen large round bales from it in the fall. From the far end, we can look back down the long narrow valley over the pasture and see the house and barn, and at night from the middle of the open space, there is more of heaven around me than I can comprehend.

We walk up the pasture, along the creek and back every day... Ann, the dog and I. This green pasture feels as if it has always been just so, waiting for us to find our field of dreams.

Posted by fred1st at March 12, 2003 06:39 PM | TrackBack

Beautiful picture...

Posted by: Dave Worley at March 12, 2003 08:52 PM

Yep, lovely.

Posted by: peggy at March 12, 2003 08:57 PM

Ah, that is the epitome of "idyllic."

Posted by: Venomous Kate at March 12, 2003 11:36 PM


Posted by: bogie at March 13, 2003 06:54 AM

What a wonderful entry, and picture, fog pictures are always a few notches better. God I wish I had that, no offense to corn and condos! I would be out every day enjoying that. I'm glad to hear that you appreciate it!

Posted by: Josh at March 13, 2003 10:30 AM

Awesome picture, Fred :)
I feel so lucky to live around so much farmland here.

Posted by: deb at March 13, 2003 12:12 PM

What a beautiful picture, it's so evocative of so many childhood memories and emotions, I could almost taste and smell with my eyes closed. Thank you.

Posted by: Alexandra at March 13, 2003 02:12 PM

Ah, very nice.

Posted by: meg at March 14, 2003 03:27 AM

Wendell Berry would be proud.:-)

Posted by: Jeff at March 14, 2003 02:39 PM

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