Winter is cold and difficult. An occupation, as the saying goes, not a season. I force myself out of the house wearing boots, gloves, coat. The animals are waiting for me and farmers can’t be lazy. I don’t really want to go, and whine to myself like a little kid being forced to brush their teeth. Getting out of the house is the hardest part. Once I’m out, walking down the driveway toward the gate to the barn yard, I start feeling better right away in the brisk frozen air. Invigorated. Active. Needed! Everyone is so glad to see me.
I move through my routine, checking for heads, checking water. Some want to be petted.
Some just want me to hurry up.
I trudge up the stairs in the barn to the hay loft and stand in summer’s promise. I can hear the echo of men and teenagers who loaded all this hay up here, laughing and playing around as they worked. I can hear the thump of the bales as they were tossed down from the hay man’s loft to be loaded on our trucks. The hay man counting fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four as they went into the backs of pickups, the slight crunch of a tie-down pulled tight over the bales.
Here, I find eggs hiding on top of bales and cats waiting by their food dish, satisfaction in the money I saved to buy this hay and the organization and teamwork it took to make it happen. Security in the knowledge that my animals have plenty to eat. Peace because it’s here.
And a certain bliss that comes from leaving the house on a cold winter day to work.