The cool night air bites at my cheeks as I stare up into the crystal clear sky. The sun disappeared behind the mountains early in the evening but there’s still a soft purple hue on the horizon. There was a few streetlights dotted throughout the rural community but not so many as to ruin the view of star. The night sky is unbroken by the blinking lights of passenger jets in those days. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I’d had enough allergy treatments to allow me to participatein a hay ride. I had tucked a few antihistamine pills in my pocket just in case I started to have a reaction but they were unnecessary. I leaned back against the wooden sides of the wagon and thought about how much the stars resembled sugar sprinkled across the opaque dome of a late fall night. The only sounds at the moment were the steady clip clop of the horse’s hooves on the hardtop lane. The hay helped keep the youth group warm in the bitter night air and we were covered by beautifully designed Appalachian quilts. And there was rich hot chocolate made with whole milk. Then I felt someone take my hand and I looked down to see the new girl in the group looking up at me. We never spoke. I was too shy in my teen years and seemed to babble and stutter around the girls. Fortunately for me she didn’t speak either. We just cuddled up under the quilt and looked at stars. Nobody seemed to notice us as the horse pulled the wagonload of teenagers through the hills. That is, until the wagon pulled up at her house and she gave me my first kiss before she went inside.
When I see a hay wagon I’m always taken back to a simpler time. A time when the simple things in life were the most important things and we took the time to enjoy them. And, our lives were fully enriched when time was our own.
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When I was very young putting up hay was a way for most young men to make a little spending money. A person could drive through the country at certain times of the year and the fields were lined from one end to the other with rows and rows of square bales of hay. The farmers would be seen with huge stacks of perfectly compressed blocks of cut and dried grasses of various types towering over tractors or pickup trucks on their way to a barn. It wasn’t really uncommon to a couple of the older boys riding on top of the stack as the vehicle drifted carefully across the fields while two more boys tossed more bales up to add to the stack. The unloading process was just as laborious with the boys on top of the stack tossing the bales back down or directly into the barn for storage.
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s I started seeing the large round bales like you see in the feature image. My grandfather began remarking on how his poor cows wouldn’t be able to have a square meal. The iconic large stack of square bales disappeared into the past. ( I’m sure that there’s still some around however I haven’t seen it for decades). The crew of three or four teenage boys was replaced by a tractor with a fork lift attachment. The round bales turned out to be a be a better deal for the farmer because of the labor costs but every time I see the round bales I get nostalgic for the view of acres and acres perfectly lined up rectangular blocks on contour with the landscape.
Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to FollowLloyds Lens Photography on Facebook
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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Country Zen 1” and is available for purchase by usingthe Contact Form onmy website.( justclick on thethe bell below)
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I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use theContact Formor message me on Facebook.