So I think that, if things had turned out differently, I might have made a good farmer’s wife. I’m very good at all the domestic stuff (especially cooking and all the craft stuff), though I can’t say that cleaning is really my favorite thing. But there is a satisfaction in looking around at your surroundings and knowing that everything is rightly ordered and as cared for as it can be at that moment. Really the main reason that I say this, though, is that I spent this past weekend on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and I absolutely loved it. Really. Even the stinky parts. It was so much fun. I helped spread bedding for the heifers. I followed Tree around while he showed us everything: the sheds, and the open stalls where the recent mothers are, and the milking parlor, and the mountains of feed that Shark mixes every day. He pulled handfuls of alfalfa and chopped corn out of the heaps to show us, holding his cupped hands up so we could smell the sweetness of the alfalfa and the apple cider scent of the corn. We were with him when he was feeding the calves, each in their own little warm shelter. I let the baby calves lick my mittens and nuzzle themselves against me. One of them tried to eat my scarf, and while I was pulling it out of its mouth, another one started licking my butt (boy, did I jump!). The next time Tree fed the calves I got to help, and I sang to them while I poured corn into their buckets. (“You must have been a beautiful baby! You must have been a wonderful cow…”) I watched the cows get milked in the morning, and at lunch I drank the milk that came from them, rich and wonderful tasting, like no other milk I’ve ever had.
I want to go back. I want to feed the calves again. I want to stand under the open sky and see the horizon stretch away from me. I want to drink that milk again. I haven’t been able to drink milk since I got back. It isn’t the same. I don’t really want it. I want the milk that Shark and Tree make. It feels like I want to go home, yet I’d never set foot on that land before Saturday. How can I be homesick for a place that has never been my home?
But then, Bhaer was waiting for me in the hallway between classes Tuesday. What do you do with a man who is willing to just wait somewhere on the off chance that you might walk by? Well, I know what to do, just, um, not yet. And as beautiful as the calves’ eyes are, with their liquid centers and long, long eyelashes, Bhaer’s eyes are more beautiful, especially when he is looking at me in that particular way.
Yeah, I think I’m staying in Dayton.
Roommate Update: She started chemo last week, and it’s been a rough week. She went to the ER on Friday night to get some of the fluid that’s been building up in her abdomen (cuz her liver doesn’t work) tapped off. That helped some, but she hasn’t been doing well yesterday and today. It’s hard for her to want to eat, and then when she does eat something it’s hard for her to keep it down. When I left for an appointment this morning she was looking with mild despair at a small bowl of Jello. That did get down, and stayed down, but she wasn’t up to attempting some chicken noodle soup after that. She goes in for her second dose of chemo tomorrow. So… we’ll see what happens.