Now that Winter’s frost allows us a spell of firm footing on frozen earth, the evenings sometimes call us abroad — to walk along the fields or follow old paths of farm-lanes when the world is lit by star-shine and moonlight silvers our steps. Then indeed the farmlands are beautiful, the groves and woodlands darkly handsome as they settle against the night-sky, the resting fields so still one could believe all was wholly deserted terrain.
So it seemed this evening, when with James and the children from the house across the lane, we, taking our time in the delight of the hour walked along the intervening fields to Rob’s. How still the night was, without even the sigh of a wandering wind to disturb its serenity, how altogether hushed and lovely.
“There’s not even an owl abroad” we chuckled, following the others through the shadows of a woodsy place.
“If it were daylight” Mack commented “its surprising the things we would see — ravens and squirrels. And maybe a partridge or rabbit.” He laughed at a memory. “Rabbits always startle me.”
The sky toward its eastern boundary reflected the bright lights of the city. And here and there in mirroring brightness above them, these of the farmsteads about. On this and more distant roads, in momentary Willo-wisps of brightness, machines moved, as were we, along the fairy aisles of the night.
“This” James offered, as by way of a gap in a hedgerow we entered another field “is part of our seeds.”
“Seeds?” Mack echoed. “Oh, yes, I know… first hay. The seed was sowed last spring along with the grain.’
“And I’m thinking the flock of sheep’s nibbling over it, isn’t doing it much good!” James said. It would be as well too if we’d get snow, to cover it — a better crop we’d get instead of the freezing and thawing weather we have been getting of late.”
“We never know” Mack commented. “We just may get our best hay here.”
“It depends on the year” we agreed. “If it’s a year for clover there’ll be an abundance of it everywhere.”
“I wish” Granddaughter observed with a chuckle “we could catch the clover scent right now!”
“Girls are forever wishing, aren’t they?” Mack offered teasingly.
“I wouldn’t mind it either” James said, tones a bit wistful, “at least I could do with the Spring.”
But fragrance [sic] of Fall went with us scent of resting fields, of sere stubble [sic] and bracken. And intermingling… it came to mind, instead of the salt of shore fields the aromatic tang of the spruces.
The farming? How busy the farmers’ days continue to be! How full of hope to farm-folk, we reflect, as we look into the new year, now reaching before us away. This will be the best winter… the best Spring… the best year of all!
– Ellen’s Diary, January 6th, 1958.