It’s a day that feels like biting into a honeycrisp apple. The sun is shining brightly after so many days of rain, and the cold turns the tip of my nose red. The frost makes the grass faintly resemble a photo editing filter. The green is so light, so neutral that it’s hardly real.
I quickly grab the milking supplies; I’m running late, we’ve got to get to church in time for Sunday school this morning. I put the cans in the back of Huntley and glance at the sun kissing the tip of the hill across the street. No time to watch, must go.
I drive down to the cow barn, and for just a minute, I pause as the sun creeps over the hill. It splashes the field below with light just as it did one chilly November morning when the field was filled with laughter; a sparkling new ring, friendship, love, and clasped hands.
I hurry through milking, keeping my hands in my pockets when I’m not using them. 18 degrees, really? That’s cold. Granddaddy and Junior put the bright red leads on the cows when we’re done and start pulling them up the hill, tugging against the stubbornness.
I walk through the barn and step out the other side to watch the field and remember. The sun is bright; I close my eyes and let its warmth defrost my nose and spread its comforting warmth across my face. I hear the brook in the distance and the faint voices of Granddaddy saying “Get up!” and Junior, “Give up!” as they lead the cows. And I wonder, will this be the last time I stand out here? Will I ever feel this way again? And will I forget how it felt to stand and absorb everything around me? I’m leaving soon, I’m leaving my childhood. Can’t I just preserve it, remember it? A bright Sunday morning is a commonplace beauty, but no morning will ever be like this one again. They’ll always change, as do I. I sigh and walk back into the cow barn. Granddaddy and Junior are back, interrupting my confused reverie.
I don’t want to forget. The worst thing that can happen to a person is to forget, to forget who they were. Oh don’t grow up, don’t forget the beauty. Stop taking the simple things for granted. You change every day, and so does our world. Cling to the glimpses of what is to come, lift your eyes off the mundane and find the b e a u t y.
I blink and go back to my chores. But for a moment, I remember, and I promise myself I won’t forget.