“I can’t believe it,” she said, taking it from me and turning it over in her hands, “I remember these!”
I was surprised at her enthusiasm over the ugly child-sized shoe that I’d found in our field earlier that afternoon.
“I used to love it when your grandad plowed, I’d take off my shoes and socks and run barefoot on the furrows! Mom told me all the time not to since my feet would get so filthy, but it felt so nice and cool on my toes! Marga and I used to have races. . .” She smiled, and reached for a jar of carrot pickles to add to the table set for lunch, “I lost my shoes once, lost track of where I’d left them in the field. This must be one of them!” Mom shook her head as she giggled, “I can’t believe after all these years!”
This is one of my favourite memories of the farm, and mom. I loved her face, tanned and tired, but glowing with happiness as she told me this story. I especially love the image in my mind’s eye of her running barefoot along the plow furrows as a little girl, smiling and gleeful.
Not long after she told me this story, I tried it myself. Out for a walk one warm evening, I wandered to the field across the road and slipped off my flip-flops, pressing my toes against the smooth, dark, packed soil of the overturned earth. By my second step, I was smiling. It was cool, refreshing. The smell of the soil and green filled my nostrils and my heart.
Among the hard work, long hours, and sometimes chaos of growing up on an organic grain farm, moments like this stood out. When I go back to this moment, I am filled with peace and a deep love for where I grew up. There is something incredibly tranquil about the farm, something that isn’t always easy to see.
It’s not difficult to view farm life as nothing but stress since it is busy, but there is also so much peace to be found. As long as one takes the time to just be, barefoot on the furrows.