Making the toughest decision.
Do hummingbirds remember? At the kitchen window, where the feeder got filled often, they still show up. If so, they could be irritated at my neglect, since the feeder has been empty for more than a year.
Feeding all the birds here, including the ruby-throated hummingbirds and their brightly-colored brethren, along with the robins, cardinals, wrens and the others, showed how much my parents loved this farm. They loved all the animals here, from their cattle to the butterflies. Even skunks and possums brought a smile to their faces except when the critters attempted to take up residence in the garage.
They were blessed with long, mostly healthy, mostly happy lives centered around this place. After both of them died last year, I now own the farm. Due to life’s circumstances, I don’t intend to live on it, nice as it may be.
So what do I do with it? That’s become the question of the year for me. Real estate agents and auctioneers call me with some regularity, asking if I’m ready to sell. To be honest, some days I am ready to let it go. After all, I did not grow up in the house and only visited as an adult. I’m not a farmer but a writer who writes about farming. There’s a crucial difference.
People in the community often ask if I’ll be moving here. The answer: no.
Yet, can I sell the farm? In a way, that would be like shutting the door to a place, time and community my parents loved. For many years here, if local kids played a ball game, dad was there. If ladies got together for a special benefit project, mom could be counted on to do more than her part. If this little rural community needed something, they helped figure out how to get it done.
That’s why, now, the main road through here is named for them.
What to do? The real estate people throw out enticing numbers. If I let it go, though, it’s gone forever. With it goes a part of who I am.
This is where dad’s old Angus bull, Bart, was so tame that it let him lie down on its back. When Bart got old and was a blood relation to every cow in the herd, dad still could not bear to part with him and let him roam a pasture on his own.
This is where the goose named Lucy Goosey, of course, insisted on living at the house instead of at the pond like a normal goose, so they let it do what it wanted.
This is where mom had a yearly gardening adventure so successful that she gave away bushels and bushels of vegetables over and over.
But this is their place, not mine. I was never really part of it except as a young child. When I’m here, though, at dawn watching deer romp through the pasture at the pond, or in the barn loft my dad converted into a sort of rec room complete with old chairs and tables, it feels nice to pretend to be a real farmer, for a change.
It’s a tough decision. If I let it go, I can’t get it back. Will I become like those hummingbirds, with memories of good things but only emptiness in the end?
Whatever I decide, I’m in no hurry to do it. That’s what I tell the real estate agents and auctioneers who are so eager to work with me. Why hurry? Let’s just sit still for a while. In the meantime, maybe I should fill the hummingbird feeders.