XIL’D

HERD ABOUT IT?

by Ana Grarian

I just came back from my friends farm. It’s a beautiful spring day, sunny, not too chilly. The forsythia is unsurpassed in its exuberance. She has a pig.
She bought the pig to surprise me for my birthday. We’re sharing it. But of course since I am in exile here in the city, Ellie has to stay at her house. My friend has two, young farm men, who are helping her out in exchange for being able to raise two pigs of their own.

She is excited about all the things she has going on; her flower beds, the vegetable seedlings, the pasture lots, the woodshop in her barn. My friend was a refugee too. BigAg moved in next door and the fumes from millions of gallons of liquid manure, and silage leachate ruined her well, and her family’s health. She’s back now, and hoping that better farm practices will mean she is able to stay.

I’m very happy for her. I get her excitement. I know she is sharing out of love. I understand that when she says I can come anytime and hang out, even if she’s not there; she’s trying to be kind. But it hurts more than you can imagine. On the ridge in the distance sits my farm.       What was my farm. I can never go back.

After I left my friends house I went out to tractor supply to check out some things. As I entered the door the sound of peeping chicks filled the air. I had to go see them. I wanted to pick them up, drawn them in close and just inhale their warmth. I wanted to take them home.

I walked the livestock aisles, checked out fencing. Found some cute planters in the shape of a tractor and an old Ford pickup. I tried to catch my breath while selecting some grass seed to patch the hell strip between my sidewalk and the street, but I had to leave.

An old woman, walking the farm supply aisles and sobbing, is just too disturbing.