As soon as I pulled into the gravel parking lot, I knew it was a mistake. I hadn't been to this farm park since the girls were young. I was missing them enough as it was. What was I thinking of?
Some sort of therapy, I suppose, the kind where anxious folks expose themselves to ever-increasing doses of what they fear. So I hopped out of the car and started my "treatment."
There was the big barn where we'd admire the baby pigs and the field where we'd watch the young goats rut and run. There was the chicken coop, the old tractor, the field where the pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys (given to several American presidents, who chose not to slaughter them) now run free.
Mostly there were the shadows of my three daughters. One running ahead, a second clambering on a fence and the third holding her nose because "this place really stinks, Mom." For a moment the memories overcame me and I had to stop and compose myself.
As I stared at the light on the early fall fields, a young father raced ahead of me, his two children pulling on his arms. He looked harried and hassled — and seeing him helped me remember the high drama of those days, the endlessness of them. My trips to this park were often out of desperation.
But I also recalled the way it felt to pull in the driveway after one of our outings, secure in our togetherness, feeling, as I rushed to start dinner, that everything was exactly as it should be.
Labels: animals, children, place