The Dream of a Farmer


I took my parents off the farm
and set them up in a home, didn’t know
what else to do. Mom didn’t mind
as she was tired of wiping up the mud
Dad tracked in. Pop, he was another story.
For him, life on the farm was a living dream.       Winslow Homer
                                                                                                                                                Gloucester Farm

I once fell asleep in the cow pasture and the dream
the good Lord gave me—that I would farm
this land to my death—was much more than a story,
my friend. In my bones inside this skin sack, I know
I am destined to die with my Guernsey. This muddy
spring field, this hollyhock and thistle, to my mind,

my friend, they create my world. I would, indeed, mind
very much to leave it. My father told me his dream,
but never described how the dirt under his nails, the mud-
encrusted boots, hitchhiker seeds stuck on his farm-
boy coveralls built a world that no
other ought take away. This is my story,

he said to me and now I say to you, this is my story
about how I came to be a farmer, about how my mind
moved from the academy of books to know
a deeper truth in the academy of earth. This dream,
which was my father’s, is now mine, and this farm
where my parents built their life, sowing love in the gullies of mud

has grown into my heart. All of it, even the mud,
feeds my world. The channels of earth tell my story.
But see here, I have removed my pop from this farm
and replanted him in a memory-care unit. His mind
will not stay rooted in the present, but drifts into dreams
of yesterday. He hollers, “Did you, young lady, did you know

that I once plowed 40 acres with a pair of horses?” I know
the nurses have heard that story fifty times. “The mud,”
he yells, “spilled over the doorstep!” Mom dreams
of Pop quietly watching The Price is Right. Instead, a story
bursts out of his mouth as he regales to all. He pays no mind
to others’ disinterest. He’s re-living his life on the farm.

Pop seeded a dream in my heart and I know
nothing can supplant it. Farming, even with its mud and heartache,
burns in my veins, its story written in the fissures of my mind.

About the Author ()

"Always try to add a little fizz and ginger to everything you write." --Matthew Stibbe

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