Sunday, March 14, 2010

down on the farm

when i was younger and my parents divorced i spent every other weekend with my dad, my step mom, my step brother (my age) and my step sister (one year younger than me). his wife's parents lived about a half mile away on a farm, in an old historic home that was built around the time of the civil war. i spent as much time there as i could. they had horses, chickens, rabbits, and dogs. we rode the horses as much as possible (i got thrown off a horse for the first time on one of our trail rides), there were kid-sized motorcycles we played with, a zip-line, a barn, acres of woods, the list goes on. but what i mostly remember about my times at the farm is exploring off on my own. i remember getting dirty and no one caring. i remember the feeling of mud and horse manure under my feet. learning the smell of the barn and hay, the horses, the chicken feed, the grass....i can still smell them today. i remember watching how the mama rabbits cared for their newborns, and eagerly waiting for them to turn 6 weeks so i could bring one home to my mom's house. i watched newborn horses grow into adults. i tried to nurse birds back to health after the boys shot them...
i also went to horseback riding summer camps, and later in college i lived on a farm with horses, goats, pigs, chickens and lots of dogs (we trained service dogs for handicapped people). and so i learned how to ride a horse properly, and to care for them. as well as the other animals....and that is the story of how a suburbian kid haphazardly learned how to be a farm girl as well.
that farm i once knew has since been turned into a shiny new neighborhood in Cobb County. a few years ago they sold their land and moved to a different farm. shortly after, my step-mom's father passed away. her mother lives in their new home with a few of her sons on the same property. during my Atlanta visit a couple weeks ago, we went out to visit the place. there are only 3 horses now, and 2 chickens, but the land is beautiful and the house is country and homey, as it always was. little man loved every bit of it and even rode in a battery-powered kids truck with my step niece, sort of like we used to do.
being there with my son reminded me how important the outdoors is for kids. and it reminded me how much i long for him to have the opportunities that i had at being in the great outdoors. i want him to have a chance to gain from the natural earth what i was able to. to love the earth and be grateful for what it gives us, to empathize with animals and be thankful to them for what they give us. i want him to learn the smells and the language of animals, and how to care for them. i want him to feel the power of a horse beneath his saddle. i want him to build forts and throw dirt and gather chicken eggs and run wild in the open fields...all the while going to far far away lands in his imagination.
although we are city folks through and through, and we live on a bus and the world is our home, deep down i know i'll find a way to fit it into my children's lives. it's too important not to.

No comments:

Post a Comment