Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Rural Life

I grew up on a small farm (7 acres, 4 barns, 2 horses and a whole mess of cats) in the 1970s. Recently, on a recommendation, I picked up Verlyn Klinkenborg's book The Rural Life. Immediately, memories of my childhood came flooding back, a result of Verlyn's descriptive and lyrical prose. He has the unique ability to describe the mundane and bring it to full-color life. The breaking apart of a haybale, with its dusty, grassy smell that burst forth was made as real to me as yesterday. He noted the many uses of a hank of twine from the bale, which we used for everything from temporarily tying up loose barbed wire to extending the low handle on the red Ryder wagon.

Growing up on a farm wasn't easy. Many weekends with my friends were sacrificed because a fence needed to be put in or the alfa alfa from the small field needed to be brought to the barn before it rained. However, I wouldn't trade it - the experience of sliding off a horse to the ground while galloping full-out, finding newborn kittens in the hay loft, or driving a tractor with my dad for the first time - for anything. You can easily see Verlyn's affection for this tough, and incredibly rewarding, life, too.

2 Comments:

Blogger Natalie said...

I used to love feeding the barn cats with you. I remember several occasions when kittens were around and trying to hold them (or even get close enough to touch them!) - they weren't quite feral but not accustomed to human interaction, either. It was so different from my home and our "inside cat."
Remember poking around the old abandoned houses and barns? That was great! Oh, and corn-ball (the game, not the insult).

9:29 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Wow. I just realized how awkward that second sentence is. Let's try: "I remember several occasions when kittens were around and we would try to hold them..."
Oops. Too much coffee today.

10:39 AM  

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