We finished wheat harvest on July 2, that evening I hauled one of the last loads to the elevator. The past couple of weeks had been very hectic and quite frankly things had not gone very good. I was in the middle of wondering what I was doing and probably feeling sorry for myself. That was until I took this load of wheat to town.
It was that time of day when the wind switches from hot to cool and refreshing. I had the windows down and my arm out the window, the soothing cool of evening seeped in. Acres of corn and beans moved past my window with the unmistakable smell of growing plants. The crops were lush and green with the odd golden wheat field thrown in for contrast. The deep green rows set against the blue horizon made for quite a panorama.
As I neared Wamego the crop fields melted away into houses and town. Fireworks stands dotted the outskirts and they were bustling with activity. There is something about the 4th of July and wheat harvest that go together. As a kid I remember the two going hand in hand just like they are this year. Dad’s goal each year was to finish with harvest by the 4th.
Driving down Main Street I noticed the red, white and blue banners lining the street. Flags were flying and firecrackers were going off everywhere. I navigated the crowds of people crossing the street as they migrated to the carnival. An old friend gave me a big wave as we drove past each other. The smell of corndogs and popcorn were in the air.
I joined the line of trucks waiting to be weighed and dumped at the elevator. Finally it was my turn to unload. The Ferris wheel jutted above the buildings of Main Street among the trees lining the park. People moved up and down the sidewalks, the scene was truly something from a Norman Rockwell painting.
I started home again navigating the families making their way to the carnival, past people mowing their lawns and others simply enjoying the evening. On my way home I drove past other farmers, one baling hay and another harvesting wheat. I watched as the big green combine slowly made its way through the field with a cloud of dust tailing it.
Suddenly the past month with its hectic pace and disappointments melted away. I suspect it is always easy to focus on what is not going right and to worry about what needs to be done. We spend too much time thinking about what is ahead or things that happened yesterday that we don’t take time to enjoy what is right now.
We tend to dwell on what is not going good in our lives and in the world around us. The negative seems to be our focus and we lose sight of all the good things in our lives. I know I worry about what I don’t have instead of being thankful for the blessings I have been given. This particular evening was a great reminder of all that I do have and everything that is right in my life.
My drive through the countryside reminded me that I am blessed to live in the heartland. A place where God’s great creation and beauty are all around me, where I know my neighbors and where I can live in peace and quiet. I am so lucky to have a small part in feeding the world.
In town, the 4th of July decorations remind me of why I have the freedoms I so cherish. I live in a nation where I can worship where I want, say what I believe and I have the opportunity to choose my own course. We each need to take a minute and think about why our nation is so great and to take time to thank God for allowing us to live here. We are truly blessed.
I pulled the truck into the shed that night with a new perspective on life. Life is good. I am blessed with a great family, many friends, the ability to farm, a roof over my head and plenty to eat. I am sure that the very near future will hold more stress, disappointments, problems and obstacles. I also know that life will remain hectic. However, I also know that no matter what, I have it pretty good. For that, I am thankful.