The Dance at Dusk

Don’t you just love the sounds at dusk???

I have gotten to where I notice quiet and simple sounds more.  Maybe it is my age.  I think that it is probably my increasing appreciation for every piece of life that God has allowed me to experience.

I think of these sounds, it seems, at the strangest times and think of what these sounds mean to me personally.  Tonight (as I am writing this on Saturday night), I noticed them all the more.

It has been a busy day today.  A wonderful Saturday market with friends and family coming by to pick up their ordered items or to check out what is latest in the freezers.  Then a quick trip to Saxapahaw to check out a butcher and then on to Durham for a new freezer for the beef that will be picked up shortly by my parents.  Weaning of piglets is next before dark, always stressful!

And then the light dims on the horizon and things become a dance.  That is what it is. A dance.  We dance in the waning light as we feed on weekend nights. 

Tonight, it is just me and Ben- and we say very little.  We don’t have to.  We have been this for a while, so words are not necessary.  I know that he is down with the mamma pigs and he knows I am with the chicks.  I know who he is feeding by the gentle grunts coming from the valley below.  While I hear them in the back ground I am actually listening for the little balls of fluff that are awaiting my arrival.  If you listen to the chicks, you know exactly how they are doing without ever looking into their brooder pen.  Quiet chirping means all is well, but loud noisy bursts indicate that they are in need of something- either feed or water.  Occasionally they are cold.  Before we moved the brooders to the barn we had them outside our windows and it was not uncommon for me to be woken out of a sound sleep to check on the chicks in the middle of the night. Something had changed and their cute little chips were telling me so. The weather had turned cold, or unexpected rain had come. Either way, just like sick children in the night, they need to be attended to.

As we move through our chores and as the light of day fades further over my Uncle Jack’s trees, I hear more.  The Jerseys are sliding through the field and you can hear them bumping their calves into a different pasture.  I hear a gate open and the metal chain clangs as Ben secures it.  He is done watering the cows for the night and he moves on to the meat birds.  I can hear his boots swooshing in the grass and based on this I can tell he is in the tall Rye grass and towards the house. Almost done.

I wait until last to do the eggs and the hens that lay the spectacular jewels that we gather every day.  I love being around the laying hens because they talk all day.  In the mornings, they are loud, almost fussy.  It reminds me of going to the beauty parlor with my grandmothers and watching all of the older ladies sit under the hair driers.  They couldn’t hear a thing, so they were telling their local Reeds gossip in an ear splitting “whisper”.  I always enjoyed being there and hearing those women.  They are the women of my past and I am all the more blessed to have had them in my life.  So, when I hear the laying hens in the morning – well- it makes me smile.  In the evenings, though, it is different. The girls are quietly talking and clucking and moving almost silently in the dark except for a few whispers to each other.  In those moments, I am reminded of camping as a child with my brother, parents and possibly the rest of the extended family.  After the designated campground quiet time, mothers are gently and quietly hushing children to into the tents or campers. Getting teeth brushed and carefully getting marshmallows out of hair are the last task of the night.  As I hear the hens scampering into their hen house I can hear my mother telling us to be quiet and watching my dad unplug the mulit-colored owl lights that hung from the awing of our camper.  Time for bed- more excitement and adventure tomorrow. 

I lug the eggs up the hill to the house.  Ben is done. He has turned out the lights at the barn, and now I can hear the clicking of the grill.  Thank goodness he has decided to grill something tonight so that we might eat something before 10 o’clock.  It has been a long, but a beautiful day. One that we have been lucky to experience.

One more sound as I am heading inside for the night and before the front glass door slams.  There is a frantic rustle coming from the line of cedars by the fence and two figures dart across the yard.  It’s only Higgins trying to track down the last stray laying hen.  Once she is up for the night he will rest and all will be quite- until the sun gently peaks up over the opposite line of trees in the East.   

Sun setting in the front field