We wake in early morning to sunshine and voices. Busy hands of family, friends, neighbors and auctioneers arranging familiar items used each day, onto hay wagons, sorting as they load. Tractors, wagons, plows, balers and other farm equipment lined in rows like soldiers going to battle.
Our usual world of calm and order is today in chaos. The setting takes on a carnival atmosphere as more people flock into the yard and the food and beverage truck arrives.
9:00 O’clock and the voice on the loudspeaker announces the sale of livestock will be first. Herds of people head up the hill to the barn. Each milk cow has a bid and are led away to waiting trucks. One by one the herd disappears. Wishful thinking that perhaps Red, whose back we traveled on so many days when we brought the cows up from the pasture to the barn for milking, would be spared. Tears fell as she was claimed by her new owner.
Our way of life and everything familiar was being challenged. The trees in the orchard that we climbed every day…the strawberry and raspberry patches that provided such delicious treats…the full acre of garden where we planted and weeded and harvested fresh vegetables for the summer and froze or canned a supply lasting through the long winter months…the milk tank at the barn where we cooled countless watermelons for tasty hot afternoon refreshment from the heat and hay hauling.
Would the new owners enjoy the skiing and sledding hills…the skating pond at the bend of the creek…the creek itself with fish and frogs and crayfish… How would we survive without those daily winter and summer activities on the hills, in the woods and wandering on the pastureland ?
When would they realize that each porch provides protection from the sun at a different part of the day? Will they cook and eat and pray together around the kitchen table as we have for so many years? Will they embrace and love our home as we do? The extra large bedrooms with windows that allow sunshine during daylight and gentle breezes as we dream each night? The dining room where we gather with pillows on the floor and laugh as we watch the latest TV comedy. How will we survive without space to run and play, our world minus the endless paths for biking and the baseball field of grass on the side yard… Playing till dark, watching the fireflies flit about, the sounds of the animals as they settle for the night…. Gathering the chickens into the pens, catching the roosters from the tree tops and making sure there is food and water available for the pigs, chicken and livestock.
Will they embrace the friendships of the neighboring families who have helped us out on so many occasions? Hay baling and hauling, silo filing and harvesting the corn were always joint experiences…going from one farm to the other until the work for the season was complete.
Will we be able to experience the same sense of wonder and freedom that now surround us each day when we move to a home with a small yard and close neighbors?