Day #7 – Why I Clicked…

On January 11, 2018, in Photo, by Chris

Day #7/365: Taking down the Christmas decorations at the farm can be especially bittersweet, mostly because there’s that question in the back your mind… Are we doing this again next year?

Julia and I went out to the farm late last week to help dad take down the Christmas decorations. We always put the wreath out on the front of the house (it’s the neighbors’ waypoint to let them know that the holiday has truly begun), but this year we got a little more ambitious with a tree and many of the decorations that we’d kept in storage – some of it for years.

It was definitely worth the effort. Christmas had a special twinkle on the farm this year. Seeing Julia’s face light up when I turned on the Christmas tree or wound up a music box was rocket fuel for my soul.

But now it was January, and the time had come to take it all down. The boxes were pulled out and filled with the trappings of Christmas joy.

First, the big wreath that hangs on the farm house every year was unplugged, lowered to the ground and put in the shed. And then the Christmas tree was taken down.

Finally, there were the heirlooms that were my mother’s. Her Santa Claus figurines left the shelves of the china cabinet and the handmade wreaths that had hung in the windows for years found their way back into their boxes and were taken to the attic.

And through it all, the nagging question remained: How many more Christmases will we spend at the farm?

Strangely, it was a bittersweet mixture of nostalgia and gratitude of ever having known this marvelous place that welled up inside of me. And as Julia helped me carry a borrowed wreath back to the car, I turned her around to face me and got this shot.

The look on her face mirrored my feelings as I considered the twofold blessing of a life giving Christmas season and a wondrous place to spend it.

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Day #225 – Why I Clicked…

On August 18, 2017, in Life, Personal, by Chris

Editor’s note: Many of you have enjoyed my Pic of the Day for quite a few years now. I’m starting something new to select certain images and give a little more backstory on why I chose to share it. Let’s see how this goes! I hope you enjoy it…

Day #225/365: The corn crop, leaves curled to conserve moisture versus a sky too stingy with its rain. Both want the thing the other is unwilling to give. This season’s yield may be disappointing.

We were out at the farm, just checking things out last weekend. The bright orange day lilies on the roadside had long since dried up; and all that remained was the lavender of the chicory, dusty thistle and the tired but stubborn green of mid-August.

I’ll be the first to admit that my eye is still quite novice, even after the years I’ve spent watching my neighbors planting and harvesting. But you could see it as you passed field after field on the way in, if you knew what to look for.

The corn had dutifully tasseled out, but the normally broad leaves were curled and thin. There wasn’t the lush embrace between stalks. Each seemed to keep to itself even in the close planted rows, like strangers in an elevator protecting their personal space.

Upon a closer look, the cobs on each stalk seemed… shorter. There would be less space to hold the very thing my friends were planting for. And it all came into focus.

The July rain hadn’t come for the corn.

All is not lost, though. There will be a harvest; but the yield will be smaller in comparison to years past. If the drought is widespread, the corn prices may tick up and soften the blow a bit. And my friends will hit it again next season and hope for better.

I looked through my camera lens at the blue sky relentlessly tugging at the corn for its moisture, almost pulling the stalk out of the ground with its force. And the corn stubbornly clinging to the soil, drawing from wherever it could for the sustenance it needed.

The tension is clear and mirrors the struggle these families endure year after year with joy, coaxing life from the earth.

And I clicked.

My longtime friend Kirk says, “July rain for corn, August rain for soybeans.”

Let’s hope that greedy sky is kinder to the beans.

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