I went for a walk yesterday afternoon. I left the house at 4:30 p.m. and walked through the fields south of the farm. I needed some fresh air, some quiet and so I walked. I walked through the Iowa fields of my present and also back through the fields of my past, on the farm I grew up on. I spent a lot of time cross country skiing when I was younger. I'd leave after lunch on Sunday and ski all afternoon. The bush was behind our farm and our county maintained snowmobile trails back there. They were perfect for skiing. The trails offered good skiing but also protection from the wind and the snow. It might be snowing or blowing in the fields, but in the bush I was tucked in and safe. Fink's hill, our favorite sledding hill, was on the trail, and if I was feeling brave I'd make my way up to the top and then shoot down. Behind the hill was a snowmobile shack. I never went in but I could have. The snowmobile clubs keep them open. I think there were supplies in there, and maybe even wood to build a fire. The shack was surrounded by hills, I guess it would be more accurate to call them huge piles of dirt, and you could see the giant arching tracks of the snowmobilers who had tried to make it to the top and then turned back. I suppose it was a game - who could get the highest. I wasn't interested so I would keep going. Close to the shack was a grove of cedar trees. They surrounded a spring. The trail went alongside the water. It always fascinated me to see water that wasn't frozen. It was beautiful deep green water, completely motionless, with piles of snow resting on branches and tree trunks in the water. I would stand and stare, the wind would howl above me, but I would feel safe right where I was.
There are no snowmobile trails in the fields behind our farm. There is a river, but yesterday it was too noisy for me. I found something else. A tractor trail, surrounded by trees, took me down a hill to this fabulous hidden field. This summer it must have been filled with corn, but yesterday it was simply covered in white and adorned with stillness. Breathtaking. As I fumbled down the hill, I scared the deer that were grazing there, but not before I caught a glimpse of them wrapped in peaceful majesty. At the sound of my noisy feet they raised their heads, sniffed the air, looked my direction and ran towards the river. I wanted to apologize for disturbing their peace but instead of chasing after them, I moved deeper into the field and stood still. I could hear a train in the distance. The wind was blowing but it didn't touch me. My nose and legs tingled with cold but instead of feeling miserable, I felt exhilarated and happy. Once again I was quiet, tucked in, safe.
I took a few pictures but none of the field. Apparently I was too busy basking in the moment to think about snapping pictures. For now the field will be mine.