7/8/10 5:30 PM Hay Bales

Hay Bales

I have a fascination with fields of hay bales. So much so that I will post a mediocre photo to illustrate the point.

Half the allure is pure nostalgia. Haying was a highlight of summers spent on my grandparents’ ranch in northern Idaho. Spending the morning helping with lunch preparations for the haying crew who would burst in all smelly sweaty starving in that particular teen boy way, or when I was older, proudly feeling like a Responsible Adult behind the wheel of the haying truck as my dad and brothers bucked bales. Watching the baler spit out bales, punctuated by Grandpa’s epic swearing bouts whenever it jammed up. The blue bleach bottle covered in wet burlap feed sack tied on with baling wire that served as communal water jug. Grandma’s come-in-for-lunch yelp across the field. Heat. Sweat. Dust. Smell of warm, dried hay.

The other half is how impossible it is to capture them like I want to. I’m always whizzing by on the freeway or a narrow road with no shoulders, no way to pull over and indulge in careful consideration of angles and light. No permission to prowl through the field crouching and squinting and clicking. Which is all OK, really. Had I time, parking, permission, I still couldn’t capture that feeling of deep memory, or evoke the taste of water from a blue jug on a hot haying afternoon.

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