It’s 11:54am when I pull up to the farm. It’s quiet… odd for a sunny day. I get a text from Andrew to get the Ranger 4×4 (golf cart looking thing meant for mud and hauling) if that would provide me opportunity for better photos. I ignored the idea – trying to avoid being a burden. I walk down the way towards the field behind the barns. Buddy, the farm dog, keeps at my side. We turn the corner to what reminds me of Alan’s first sight of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park – wide eyed, thrilled, and a bit terrified.
The guys had begun mowing. It was soothing – the hum of tractors in the distance, the chirps and ca’s of birds, and the swooshing through mulch with each step. I began to understand Andrew’s enthusiasm. “Oh man, I love mowing!”
I look to my right to see Andrew and his wife, Melissa, squished into a big o’ll John Deere tractor from the 80’s. It fits them – like her hand around his back, him changing his sight from behind, to her, to ahead, back to her. It was their time, their quiet space among the long landscape… their landscape. Andrew and Melissa are expecting their first son in June, a hot topic between them I assume. I was sensitive to not invade the moment, but I couldn’t let it go undocumented. Besides, there was more magic just a few acres away.
Brian and his youngest and only son of 5 kids. It was tractor time. I was witnessing a memory the future boy’s self would reminisce about, saying how much tractor time meant to him. Have you ever watched something so beautiful that it pains you? It pries open a wound you swore was closed? Maybe that’s where tears come to form – from the mending of our past and present selfs in one moment. I hope the boy comes to understand what other boys would do for tractor time with their fathers.
It took the guys 3-4 hours to cover 40 acres with two tractors running. I followed them back to the barns before they took off for another field. This is Shawn. I took this photo as a joke – I’m always pointing a camera at the guys. I walked toward him after taking the photo to make some small talk and carry on. Instead, I found myself listening to the synopsis of Shawn’s story of how he came to work on the farm. Shawn explained to me a bit about his upbringing and how it caused him to leave home and find shelter at the Alberts when he was 17. “They raised me. The whole thing is a blessing.” He would become Andrew’s first legit employee. He is now the truck driver for Andrew’s new side business, Melissa Jean Trucking.