Rural Reflections: Farm after dark
The farm at night. A place without city lights to erase the Milky Way and to make the world so dark that sometimes you could barely make out your hand in front of your face.
Night. A time filled with the sounds of a farm after dark.
I would go to sleep at night lulled by the sounds of crickets singing to the moon. The corn in the front field below my window danced to an evening breeze, making a leafy melody of their own. Sometimes Cyril's old hounds would carry on. A critter probably wandered by after a dip in the creek. An owl would add its haunting hoot to an almost soundless night.
There wasn't a night that I wasn't afraid, sleeping in the upstairs of our old house.
With its creaks and moans, the house had its own music. The windows leaked and whistled with the wind. On cold winter nights, the baseboard heat tatted out a tune as it warmed.
So, it was no wonder that nighttime on the farm was different each night and always full of mystery, one that found a little girl often hidden beneath the covers.
Our wonderful home sat back a lane on a rise. We had little traffic on the road during the day and even less at night. Our neighbors were family and friends. Our home was always open to anyone who wanted to pop in day or night.
So, quite frankly, nothing was a surprise.
My children and I often returned to the farm for a visit. These town kids were educated to country life on each visit. I had moved away from Ohio before either child was born. Yes, there were always new adventures.
We sat out on the back porch listening to the sounds of the night. The lights from the house were the only oasis of light back that lane.
Suddenly, we heard a strange noise, a noise we had not heard before. The sound was what one would expect from a huge creature coming up the lane (not that I ever knew of creatures that large). There was no sound of a motor. We dashed out to the driveway. Dad told us to just stand still. Personally, I wanted to go back to my old bedroom and hide under the covers.
From out of the darkness appeared our neighbor Mike, who was training one of their horses to pull an Amish buggy. He sat upon a sulky, managing the beautiful once-racehorse. These horses often found their way into the Amish community, where Mike trained them for the neighbors.
I have no idea how Mike made it to our house in the dark without lights to guide him. Even the sightless night could not turn back this captain of the nighttime. A night when crickets could not be heard, an old hound was probably hiding, and the owls flew away. Night on the farm.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."
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