Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sitting Atop Hay Bales and Enjoying the View

This was my latest edition of my column in the Kings County Record.  I've added some pics that I took while hiking with my son recently.  A couple of these appeared with the column.  I hope you enjoy it.
Round hay bales near Foxhill, NB
I have a vivid memory from when I was younger.  I was maybe 8-10 years old and I can remember my friends and me biking down to Mac's Grocery to buy a treat.  Back then you could get a soda, a chocolate bar, and a bag of chips for no more than fifty cents.  We would then bike back towards home and stop at a nearby hayfield to enjoy the treat.  It is the memory of the hayfield on the hill and the large hay bales that make this memory stand out in my head.  I was taken back to that time earlier this week and it prompted me to write about it.
There is something crisp about a freshly mowed and baled field.  The birds know it.  They circle around a freshly cut field looking for scurrying mice or other food morsels.  The air is filled with a cleanliness that a grown field doesn't possess and you can feel a lightness as you walk, unencumbered, across the field.  The tall grass is no longer there to hold you back, but yet if you stretch out your hands and close your eyes, you can still feel it there tickling your finger tips.  When you open your eyes the birds will still be circling over your head, and your head will feel light and dizzy.  At this point you will need to sit down for a second or two and instinctively you will seek out the highest point in the field and climb onto the nearest hay bale there to rest.

My son looks over the valley from atop
a round bale near Foxhill
Sitting on top of a hay bale and simply looking over the remaining golden grass that was left in its wake is relaxing now.  As kids though, we used the bales to play hide and seek or as obstacles in a race course.  It was a place to explore and find adventure.  It was a place where we could go and let our imaginations run wild as we played wild, west adventures.  We tested each others strength and quickness as we would often try to roll the big round bales or simply wrestle each other to get to the top of the highest bale.

A CN Train rumbles in the distance
On the day my son and I explored a local hay field, it was too hot to wrestle or play tag so we simply sat on the bales and chatted and ate a snack.  We pulled out some binoculars and watched the tree tops for birds and spotted a hawk that was far enough away I couldn't identify it, but close enough that my son thought it was "cool."  He was also impressed with the constant singing of the beetles and wondered why he hadn't heard them earlier.  When the train rumbled up the valley below he was excited to watch it go, so much so he almost fell off the hay bale he was perched on.    
It was a great afternoon and getting out and exploring nature is that simple.  A science lesson for your kids and maybe even yourself is likely right out your back door.  I know my son and I are learning something every time we get outside together.                                                
Looking down on a corn stalk, not sure why, but why not.
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