It’s something I’ve thought of before, but it really struck me when one of our children took notice of it as we were watching a movie recently.
During the movie, a New York lawyer was coming home from work on city transportation, and as they were coming to a stop, a business caught his eye when he looked up and out the window. He got off of the train there and took care of some business before going home for the night.
It was something I didn’t think anything of as we were watching, but one of our children saw that brief scene and immediately commented, “Isn’t it something? For some people, that’s all they see.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about. The sky was nowhere to be seen. Most of the time when we look up and out of our windows as we drive home from work, the sky is there to greet us, whether it’s light or dark outside.
Being part of the rural population means seeing the sky every day and every night. We don’t think anything of it, and probably even take it for granted.
That is, until we can’t see it, or until we see that it’s bringing us bad news, or that it’s not bringing us what we need for our crops to grow.
Our sky and what it does is mighty important to us as farm families.
About a dozen years ago our daughter and I were in Chicago, and as we did that tourist thing so well – appearing seemingly less Clampitt-like than if we were in, say, New York City -we noticed that the buildings downtown were so tall that there was only an alleyway of sky visible above us.
After I was done being mesmerized by the sheer height of all that concrete, I remembered wondering how people lived like that.
I’ve wondered since then if there are people who have never seen the horizon, or who have never seen more than an alleyway of stars above them at a time.
Or if they’ve ever had the chance to lay in the grass and watch the clouds roll by above them, and try to make shapes and stories about the clouds as they go by.
Or if they’ve ever sat in their garages and literally watched a pelting storm pass by. Or if they ever get a chance to see the breathtaking colors of a sunrise or a sunset, which only God could create. Or if they’ve ever seen how stunning a corn field, running combine or a barn looks, silhouetted before a setting autumn sun.
All of this reminds me of a story I once read about a father who brought his son out to the farm in order to show him how the poor people lived. The (truly) poor farmer and his family greeted them and they spent a day and an evening together.
When they returned from their trip, the father, feeling as if he’d made his point, asked his son what he learned while staying with the poor farmer. He was stunned at his son’s answer.
The son said that, while they had one dog at home, the farmer had four dogs to love him. He added, “We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have expensive lamps in our house, and they have all the stars in the sky. Our patio reaches out to the front yard, and they have all that land and the whole horizon.”
Then came the kicker, as the son’s interpretation of the day was much different than that of his father’s.
When the boy was finished and the father was speechless, he added, “Thanks for showing me how poor we are, Dad.”
God made special, hearty people to live out in the wide open plains, to take life at a little slower pace, even though there is most often more work than a farmer can get done in a day even if he or she never stops; to drive down the dusty country roads in a pickup truck and stop to visit with their neighbor whom they’ve met on the road.
They’re sometimes stopped long enough to shut their trucks off as they visit, because nobody else is coming down that road – and probably won’t be for awhile.
And the sky is all around them as they drive around checking fields or checking cows and calves in the pasture, or driving home from their work – which is all around them.
But in choosing for ourselves where to live, the sky really would be the limit. If we couldn’t see it, that place would only be seen from our rear view mirrors.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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