So in the interest of not completely giving up on this little venture of mine (sigh.. BIG sigh...), here's a little something I wrote:
I arrive at the farm just as it’s starting to get dark. My car, cooling off from the long trip behind me, crackles in the cool air. In front of me, the land rolls out like a long, complicated carpet and I can smell flowers and manure and dust. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. “Doesn’t it smell good?” I would say to Mark if he were here. “Isn’t it beautiful?” We always seemed to talk to each other that way, in questions. “Aren’t you excited about our weekend? Wasn’t that a fun trip?” A car passes on the road behind me in an explosion of dust and noise and headlights. The sound murmurs out on the long, flat road until finally there is silence.
This kind of farm, I gather, is not the cows and goats kind. All I can see for miles and miles are brown lines of earth, hiding between green, leafy shrubs. Each line of dark soil disappears as I move my head, only to be replaced by another twin, fanning out before me. There is a pile of something far away – a mile away I would say, but I’m not used to measuring things out to the horizon like that. “Isn’t it flat?” I would have asked Mark. The shadowy slump looks like a haystack, and I smile because I realize I always thought that haystacks, like red barns, only existed in picture books. But there in front of me is a real-life haystack, and it’s on a real farm, and the farm is – suddenly, sadly, inexplicably – mine.
I close my eyes and take another deep breath of the dry, warm air and let out an audible sigh. “What?” Mark would have asked me. “Are you okay?” But I’m just smelling the air. “Can you believe it?” I would have asked.