Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the Oct. 24, 2013.
The past few weeks, I’ve been working on a project for our Central Iowa Ag Magazine that comes out the first week of November.
My assignment was to interview five area farmers about the harvest, their expectations, this year’s growing season and how it compared to years past.
I had put it off, which was a terrible idea, but I did. I’m not sure why I was hesitant, but it probably had to do with assuming it was going to be challenging. It wasn’t the greatest season for farmers, you know.
In fact, I put it off so long, I forgot about it. What farmer would want to take the time to talk to a young city girl during harvest and have their photo taken? I had to find five, and I did.
What I found out was that this year’s obscene weather, from snow in May to drought in August, caused for an unusual season, but that farmers are strong. They’re mentally and physically prepared to adapt and adjust to any situation without complaints.
I also found this assignment to be the one of the most personally rewarding assignments this year.
I went to five farms in two days and met with five accommodating, kind, generous, hard-working and intelligent men. The farms were north of Newton, south of Newton, south of Baxter, east of Kellogg and north of Sully, and they were gorgeous. I met relaxed farm dogs, road around in trucks and tractors and stood on a field being harvested. I felt like a kid on a field trip again, except this time, I arranged the trip and I was alone. The travel alone had filled my soul with appreciation, pride and nostalgia.
One of the farmers invited me into his truck because it was warm and we went on a land tour. We talked about the untimely passing of someone we both knew, which led us to open up about life and even more personal losses.
I shared with him the passing of my father when I was 4 and he told me about the sudden death of his 18-year-old granddaughter, one who he didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to before being coma induced. While reflecting, he said something I’ll never forget.
“Not being able to say goodbye is hard. That’s why we ought to be doing it every day.”
Words like these are lessons we can only learn through experience. It’s the outcome of a flood of pain and heartbreak. It was the truest, sincerest quote I heard from anyone in awhile.
After the interview, I left that farm feeling so enriched and satisfied beyond any expectations.
The other four farmers I met were just as insightful, interesting and open, and I thought to myself, “Why did I put this assignment off again?”
Sometimes, life surprises you, and if you’re lucky, it will be in ways that inspire you to learn more, live more and love more.
Contact Kate Malott at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org