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Fresh Country Air to Clear My Mind

I’m currently taking a family member up on her offer of hospitality. She knows I’m a writer and write best while surrounded by nature. When she offered me some tranquil writing time on her farm, I jumped at the chance.

If you’ve ever written while sitting in the shade of ancient trees, surrounded by butterflies and birdsong, you understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed driving down the old country road on which my kin lives. I saw something I hadn’t seen in a long time. A mama turkey and her babies crossed the road right in front of me.

Thankfully, I wasn’t going very fast, so I was able to stop without hitting any fowl. With not a single car in sight, I sat in the middle of the road and watched as the turkey family took their sweet time ambling to the other side.  

When I turned down the farm’s driveway, which can be measured in miles instead of feet, dozens of butterflies took flight. Yellow, multicolored, blue, and white butterflies were everywhere. It was like a beautiful dream that I didn’t want to end.

This trip to a peaceful farm reminded me of a long ago visit to another farm when I was ten years old. My paternal grandparents lived on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. Every trip to their house was like Christmas. Lots of hugs, attention, and special food. One on one time with Grandpa W. was the best. He never called me by my name. He only called me Sweetheart.

Grandpa showed me many fascinating things during that visit. It was my last visit to the farm before he passed away. I don’t know if he had a premonition or just thought it was time to expand my country education. Either way, he gave me as many sweet memories as humanly possible to gather in one weekend.

He drove me around the farm on his old tractor, telling me about things we saw along the way. He told me about turkey buzzards and flies being nature’s maids because they clean up animals that had met their end. He took me to a spring on the property and let me taste that cold fresh water straight from the source.

“That’s the cleanest water on Earth, Sweetheart. Pay attention to that taste. You’ll never taste anything better,” he told me.

Around the barnyard, he let me ride his favorite bull, a huge red beefmaster. That bovine was a giant beast, but he was gentle as a lamb with me. When I was finished with my ride, Grandpa took me into the barn where he let me milk one of his cows by hand, even though he had a sophisticated milking machine. He told me it was something I should experience at least once. It’s a lot more difficult and time consuming than you might think.

We put my hard-won milk in a gallon size glass jar and took it to the house to chill. Then we drank it with our supper. I’ve never tasted milk so good before or since. We snuck into the kitchen later that night and stuffed ourselves with milk and cookies when no one was watching.

Grandpa W. showed me a wild turkey nest with the mama patiently waiting for her eggs to hatch. He made sure I didn’t get too close or too loud. He explained that she was bringing new turkeys into the world and might get defensive if I disturbed her. Oh, she knew we were there. She made eye contact with me. She was motionless except for her eyes. She was the picture of serenity.

I’d forgotten a lot of those memories until today when I sat beneath the trees and watched the butterflies. It’s amazing how fresh country air and a little peace and quiet can clear my mind.

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