I struggled to hold in a shout, as I stumbled out the door carrying too many things at once. “Please move,” I said politely to our golden retriever, Summer, knowing I shouldn’t yell at her while the toddler’s ears were absorbing my every word and watching my every move. I look up and see a cat sitting in the baby stroller and groan. I cannot stand how rapidly our feral barn cat population has grown. Does anybody need cats? They are FREE!
I ignore the cat and mentally dive through the checklist of everything we would need to go to the field. We were only going to be there for less than an hour, but children require stuff. It’s nearly supper time which means we need snacks and drinks to tie them over, hangry children, especially a hangry one-year-old must be avoided at all costs!
Ok, we have the snacks, drinks, diapers, and wipes. Everybody is dressed, we’ve got coats, and shoes and our hair is up and out of our eyes! Ok next toys. Entertainment for the car will hopefully keep them content while I take photos. Check, check, check, check. Next my camera bag – hopefully things are charged and ready to go. I don’t get the privilege of time to look through my equipment. I run back into the house to grab another forgotten but necessary item. A sigh of relief escapes as I settle into the driver’s east. We made it – to the car. We’re ready to go to the field.
I look at my phone and see a text, “We’re done in the field you can just come to the shop.”
My heart sinks, all that preparing and we can’t even go see tractors and combines in action? I look at the time stamp, it came through twenty minutes ago. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and try not to cry. I haven’t taken a single good photo during harvest yet, and haven’t been to the field at all during the beautiful golden hour. Now I’ve spent the past forty minutes getting my children out the door only to not have a field to go to.
I sit and think. Do I unload the kids, do I go to the shop, do I just go drive around for my own sanity.
I call Mom, “Are the guys harvesting somewhere close?” Crossing my fingers as I wait for her response, “Yes – both combines are going right by our house.” I look up relieved – at last, I can release some of my pent up creativity! To the field we go!
We get to the field, and it’s as beautiful as I remember it. The sun reflecting off of the equipment, the dust glittering in the air, the sights, sounds, and familiarity fills my heart with joy. The one-year-old is happy and she sits in her carseat entertaining herself so I roll down the window. This allows her to watch the action and makes it possible for me to hear her cries should she decide she doesn’t like waiting in the car.
The three-year-old anxiously waits for me to unbuckle her, and prep her camera (of course before my own!). We step carefully over the cornstalks and get into the field. She holds my hand or hugs my leg knowing she needs to stay right by my side because farm equipment is big. We need to stay out of the way. We find a good spot and we start capturing the beauty we watch unfolding in front of us! We wave at some of our favorite farmers – Grandpa, Uncles, Cousins, they’re all here. What they all might consider as another day, I consider a work of art. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I haven’t been to the field all year.
Unfortuantely, the golden hour is also what mothers often call the “witching hour” for their kids. It’s when they need us most! Supper, bath, books, bed. It has been my greatest struggle as a mother and a creative, to lose this crucial time outdoors. But tonight! Tonight, I took it back, and it felt good.
My time was limited, the sun was setting, and my girls would only be transfixed by harvest activity for so long. We captured some beauty that night together, and I’m not sure if I’ll make it back to the field again this harvest. But I remind myself that the season when our children depend on us so strongly is only a season. It will pass, and soon I’ll be sad it’s gone.
Before I know it there won’t be a tiny hand tugging on mine asking for a snack or a refill. A toddler won’t be hugging my leg as the combine turns in the end rows. A baby’s chubby arms won’t reach for me to lift her from her car seat because she can’t get out herself.
God-willing there will be thousands of sunsets in my future, so for now, I sacrifice them for sticky grins and bedtime prayers. But every once in a while, I’m going to get out there and steal a sunset. Just for me.